Mental Health Newsletter

Collaboration of MSAD 52 School Counselors & Social Workers

6/3/20 _________________________________________________________________________________

As summer comes, we're here

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Let the sun shine on your soul

As our virtual school experience comes to a close, and we all carry a sense of unease about what the upcoming school year will be like, remember to enjoy your summer. Even if how you do summer looks different this time around, find things to enjoy, people to laugh with, paths to walk, water to dip your toes in, and sunshine to warm your skin.


Soak it up.


We will all be here through out summer and when we return in the fall. You can reach out to us whenever you need us. Our contact information is below, as well as community mental health and crisis supports.

School Counselors & Social Workers Contact Info

Leavitt Area High School

Heidi Poulin, School Counselor at LAHS heidi.poulin@msad52.org

Nicole Drew, School Counselor at LAHS nicole.drew@msad52.org

Sarah Frank, School Counselor at LAHS sarah.frank@msad52.org

Amy McNamara, Substance Abuse Counselor at LAHS amy.mcnamara@msad52.org

Erika Ouellette, Social Worker at LAHS erika.ouellette@msad52.org


Tripp Middle School

Brooke Newton, School Counselor at TMS brooke.newton@msad52.org

Papawadee Yooman (Pook), Social Worker at TMS papawadee.yooman@msad52.org


Turner Elementary School

Carlene Treadwell, School Counselor at TES carlene.treadwell@msad52.org

Kara Bryant, Social Worker at TPS, TES, LCS kara.bryant@msad52.org


Turner Primary School

Kayla Marston, School Counselor at TPS kayla.marston@msad52.org


Greene Central School

Jennifer Simmons, School Counselor at GCS jennifer.simmons@msad52.org

Melissa Tremblay, Social Worker at GCS melissa.tremblay@msad52.org


Leeds Central School

Liz Cook, School Counselor at LCS liz.cook@msad52.org
5/20/20 _________________________________________________________________________________

Running on tired legs

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How full is your cup?

You may have heard the phrase "you can't pour from an empty cup" in relation to self-care. You also can't run on tired legs for too long. Eventually, you will have to stop and rest. This distance learning marathon has been exhausting, and you deserve respite. Some of us struggle to take time for ourselves; we might feel selfish, silly, or like we're wasting precious time.


The truth is, when we spend time doing something that makes us feel good, we are doing wonders for the people around us too. Our brains and our bodies are more calm and able to handle stress when we have taken care of our own needs. Basically, when you feel good, you can do good!


Now more than ever, it's important to know what our stress triggers are (the things that deplete our energy) and what rejuvenates us (the things that restore our energy). Modeling self-care for our students/children is paramount in helping them develop this skill for themselves.


Check out a couple of resources to try below - find what works for you!

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2 min Breathe Bubble | Breathe Exercises - Sea - Think Nothing Exercise I Breathe In Calm App

What does our staff do for self-care activities?

5/6/20 _________________________________________________________________________________

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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Really, thank you doesn't seem like enough...

Especially during these challenging times, you deserve a medal, a trophy, and all the chocolate. Through school abruptly closing, figuring out distance learning on the fly, and still coming through for your students and families - YOU DID IT AND YOU ARE AMAZING!!!


We couldn't do what we do without your support and collaboration. Thank you for all of your compassion, patience, and willingness to try new things (even when it's hard).


We appreciate you!

-Much love from your school counselors and social workers

Activities for family fun at home!

SEL challenge and scavenger hunt

Filled with simple and fun challenges, this scavenger hunt encourages you to focus on the GOOD! You can do these inside and outside, alone or with family members. Try to do all 15 and document your progress if you wish!


Click on this link to see the list larger: SEL Challenge and Scavenger Hunt

Quarantine time capsule

We are living through a very unique time in history. Imagine how interesting it would be to remember in the future all the things you did during this time. All you need is a jar or an empty shoebox to fill with memories!


Click on this link to download directions and materials to help you create your own capsule: Big Life Journal Time Capsule

Fun activities for bored teens (and their families!)

From learning how to cook a new recipe, to hiking, to rearranging and redecorating your room, this list boasts 100 activities for teens and their families to do! Now that warm weather has arrived, there's lots to do outside while maintaining a safe distance. Skip stones across some water, look for shapes among the clouds, or become a grill master - the possibilities are endless!


Click this link for the full list: 100 Fun Activities

Rock painting

While the canvas might seem a bizarre choice, painting rocks can invite lots of creativity. Each rock has its own shape, size, color, texture, and imperfections that can help guide your artistic expression. You can choose simple color, or extensive detail. You can add words with paint or permanent marker. Rock painting can entertain artists of all ages and abilities!


Check out this link for easy rock painting ideas: Rock Painting 101

What is our MSAD 52 staff up to?

4/29/20 _________________________________________________________________________________

Guidance for high school students and their parents

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Encouraging social teens to stay distant

We all watched as the beaches in Florida filled up with spring breakers, defying the advice of national, state, and local governments to remain at home and avoid crowds. Locally, many parents are struggling to convince their teenagers why they need to remain at home and why social gatherings are not going to be allowed. At the same time, some parents are allowing their teens to gather in groups. The real challenge is being the parent who says NO.


There are many lessons to be learned beyond the classroom during this time. The value of a shared community/state/national goal is difficult to teach, and yet, we are immersed in that very circumstance right now. This article may provide you with something you can use when speaking with your teenager about the importance of social distancing: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/love-online/202003/how-talk-teens-young-adults-about-social-distancing

How to pick a college during Coronavirus

There are many things running interference into your decision process, especially now when perhaps finances aren’t as predictable as they might have been even a month ago. Some of the financial aid offers may seem confusing and different from each other. Perhaps you wanted to do a visit before you decided. There are ways to get clarification on some of these things, virtually or otherwise. Emphasis on the final paragraph: contact your counselor with questions, contact admissions and financial aid offices directly - we are all here and ready to help.


The following article discusses the different things to consider when making a decision on which college to attend: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/01/825486336/heres-how-to-pick-a-college-during-coronavirus

Calculating the cost of college

This quick article explains the terms used in the financial aid world, which may be useful and timely for many of our seniors and their parents: https://www.npr.org/2019/04/11/709528694/how-to-calculate-the-cost-of-college-a-guide-to-financial-aid-terms

Finance Authority of Maine

FAME (Finance Authority of Maine) is the go-to place to contact with questions about how to pay for college. They can advise you on how to fill any gaps that may exist after receiving your financial aid offers from colleges. Check out the financial aid webinars coming up on April 30th, May 14th, and May 21st: https://www.famemaine.com/events/online-financial-aid-night-and-higher-education-financing-session-4/

NAMI Maine offering new Teen Text Line

Lots of things are different right now for teens in Maine due to COVID-19, and that can feel overwhelming. Often, teens prefer to talk about their feelings and get support from another young person. Here for you every day from 12pm - 10pm, this peer support text line is for youth 14-20 years old and staffed by individuals between 19-23 years of age.

You are not alone! Send the Teen Text Support Line a text at (207) 515-8398.

Visit https://www.namimaine.org/page/teentextline for more information.

Please note: This is not a crisis line. If you believe that you or someone you know is in crisis, please call Maine's Statewide Crisis Line at (888) 568-1112.

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!

4/15/20 _________________________________________________________________________________

In Search Of: Grace, Patience, & Love

Take a moment to look at these two images. Does any of this look or sound familiar to you?

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Whether you are a parent of a young child or a teenager (or both), you have likely seen some out-of-the-norm behavior from them lately. And we’re here to say, it’s okay.


It’s okay if your child/teen doesn’t complete all of their assigned work, read all the pages they’re supposed to today, or feels so yucky that they’re spreading bad vibes to everyone else in the house. Kids and teens are humans too and will have off days, negative attitudes, and really hard feelings - just like grown-ups do.


It’s okay if your child/teen doesn’t want to participate in every Zoom call or Google Meet set up with their teacher(s) or family members. Sometimes connecting through video chats can leave us with a seriously heavy dose of sadness. Let them choose.


And for you, parents, it’s okay if you’re struggling to manage working from home (or working in the community still) while also being your child’s/teen’s teacher and parent. Trying to do two or three full-time jobs will leave you depleted, and probably extra cranky too. Find what works for your family, and let go of the rest.


Now is the time for GRACE, PATIENCE, and LOVE. Find a balance of encouraging a little academic work, learning through exploration (go outside!), playing or cooking together as a family, and letting go of the guilt about too much screen time. The kids will be alright.


Check out a few good tips below to help you through. This too shall pass.

Name it to tame it

When we find a label for what we’re feeling, it can help us feel in control of it, instead of the other way around. A lot of us are feeling grief - over what we’ve lost and what we anticipate losing. It’s okay to grieve right now. Talk about your feelings together.

https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

Focus on what you can control

Accept what we can do to be in control during this time. We can wash our hands, we can keep a safe distance, and we can learn how to work virtually. Perhaps we’ll discover a slower pace in life with more time for family connection and fun.

https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

Flip your thinking

Practice positive self-talk. Instead of thinking in either/or such as, “This situation is not ideal; my child won’t learn anything from home,” try thinking in both/and such as, “This situation is not ideal AND I’m going to keep trying to help my child learn in different ways.” This helps grow your brain!

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/for-educators/navigating-coronavirus-as-an-educator-with-anxiety

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!

4/8/20 _________________________________________________________________________________

Finding your new normal

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A heartfelt message of gratitude from one of us

I am a school social worker, a mom, a wife, a friend, a community member...


Four weeks ago I had a set routine and a fairly predictable life (some might even say boring). I went to school everyday and supported students, and came home to a busy life with my middle school daughter. Homework and after school activities. We were on the treadmill of life and juggling but we managed - it was our normal.


And then COVID-19 happened.


Distance learning began. We can handle that. We rearranged our home space to accommodate working from home and helping my daughter with her school work. It was only for two weeks afterall.


Enter week three. What was supposed to be two weeks has turned into a mandatory “stay-at-home” order until at least May 1st. Conversations have changed. The novelty of distance learning is wearing off. Students are struggling to do their work. Parents are frustrated. Everyone is stressed.


What started as a temporary plan has all of a sudden turned into our new normal. Except, none of us know what that new “normal” is supposed to look like. Not only were the students and families I work with struggling, but I noticed that I was feeling frustrated, lost, and overwhelmed too. My daughter was tearful, expressing stress and anxiety over the amount of work she had to complete and was spinning. I found myself getting very frustrated with my daughter and myself for not managing things better. Why couldn’t I get it together?


I had lost sight of the bigger picture. We are in the midst of a GLOBAL PANDEMIC! An event of this kind is LIFE CHANGING. Our stress levels, anxieties, and frustrations are completely normal and understandable. How should we know how to manage a situation we have never encountered before? We are learning as we go. Mistakes will happen. I had to take a step back and remember this. We need to be gentle with ourselves and gentle with each other. Self-care and care of one another is a priority and everything else will fall into place.


So here is where my gratitude comes into play. Recently, Superintendent Kim Brandt sent us all a message. It was a message of compassion and understanding that I needed to hear. I believe we all need to hear it. Please take a moment to listen to Kim Brandt’s message below.

Kim Brandt Community Address

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!

4/1/20 _________________________________________________________________________________

What is mindfulness?

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The buzz word is mindfulness. “Be mindful.” “Take a mindful moment.” What is it really? How does it work? What’s the point of teaching children? Why is it all the rage?


In simple terms, MINDFULNESS is being aware of the present moment and having an awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body, sensations, and surrounding environment. Taking a moment to just be still and aware of what is happening. This small shift in our attention can make a world of a difference. It allows us to create a space. In that space is the power to replace impulsive reactions or words with thoughtful responses and actions.


For parents, it allows us to take a moment and choose a thoughtful healthy response versus a knee jerk reaction which might escalate a situation. For children, it helps them improve their abilities to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset, and to make better decisions. In short, it helps with emotional regulation and cognitive focus.


The information above was borrowed from these resources. Check them out for more:

Mindful.org https://www.mindful.org/jon-kabat-zinn-defining-mindfulness/

Mindful Schools https://www.mindfulschools.org/

Huff Post https://www.huffpost.com/entry/8-ways-to-teach-mindfulness-to-kids_b_5611721

Check out this video of Ms. Marston and her daughter modeling

3 quick mindful moments you can try at home!

Mindful Moments - Video 1

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!

3/25/20 _________________________________________________________________________________

How to take care of YOU!

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The Mental Health First Aid curriculum by the National Council of Behavioral Health suggests the following recommendations to maintain wellness while practicing physical distancing.(Updated 3/23/20)



  1. Eat healthfully to keep your body in top working order.
  2. Exercise reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, whether we’re working out at home or taking a solo jog around the neighborhood.
  3. Practice relaxation therapy. Focusing on tensing and relaxing muscle groups can help you relax voluntarily when feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious.
  4. Let light in. For some people, increased exposure to light can improve symptoms of depression. If you can, open the shades and let more sunlight in.
  5. Be kind to yourself! Treat yourself with the same compassion you would a friend.
  6. Stay connected. Even if you can’t get together face-to-face, you can stay connected to friends, family and neighbors with phone calls, text messages, video chats and social media. If you’re feeling lonely, sad or anxious, reach out to your social support networks. Share what you are feeling and offer to listen to friends or family members about their feelings. We are all experiencing this scary and uncertain time together.
  7. Monitor media consumption. While you might want to stay up-to the minute with COVID-19 news, too much exposure can be overwhelming. Balance media consumption with other activities you enjoy, such as reading, cooking or listening to music. (Kapil, 2020).
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211 is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects people of all ages across Maine to local resources. 211 Maine is based in Maine and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their Specialists are trained and friendly; they know we all need help sometimes. Please visit their website at www.211maine.org.

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!

3/19/20 _________________________________________________________________________________

Welcome to our first newsletter!


In an effort to stay balanced and connected during these uncertain times, the School Counselors and Social Workers in MSAD 52 would like to offer a regular newsletter for students, parents, staff, and the community.

Each newsletter will feature resources and ideas around mental health and wellness.

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Crisis Support Services

Even among the recommendations of social distancing, we can use our devices to access the help and support we need when we need it. Please check out these websites with more information about the crisis support services available in our community.


Hotline and Crisis Numbers: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/hotlines.shtml


Crisis Services through Sweetser: https://www.sweetser.org/programs-services/services-for-adults/crisis-services/


Crisis Text Line: https://www.crisistextline.org/


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine: https://www.namimaine.org/


If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, please talk with a trusted adult. You are not in this alone! Parents, teachers, counselors, and social workers are here to help. :)

Food Pantry Locations in our Community

School Counselors and Social Workers Contact Information

Leavitt Area High School

Heidi Poulin, School Counselor at LAHS heidi.poulin@msad52.org

Nicole Drew, School Counselor at LAHS nicole.drew@msad52.org

Sarah Frank, School Counselor at LAHS sarah.frank@msad52.org

Amy McNamara, Substance Abuse Counselor at LAHS amy.mcnamara@msad52.org

Erika Ouellette, Social Worker at LAHS erika.ouellette@msad52.org


Tripp Middle School

Brooke Newton, School Counselor at TMS brooke.newton@msad52.org

Papawadee Yooman (Pook), Social Worker at TMS papawadee.yooman@msad52.org


Turner Elementary School

Carlene Treadwell, School Counselor at TES carlene.treadwell@msad52.org

Kara Bryant, Social Worker at TPS, TES, LCS kara.bryant@msad52.org


Turner Primary School

Kayla Marston, School Counselor at TPS kayla.marston@msad52.org


Greene Central School

Jennifer Simmons, School Counselor at GCS jennifer.simmons@msad52.org

Melissa Tremblay, Social Worker at GCS melissa.tremblay@msad52.org


Leeds Central School

Liz Cook, School Counselor at LCS liz.cook@msad52.org