STA Mental Wellness Newsletter

Meet our School Counsleor

Hello, my name is Genevieve Fields and I am the school counselor at Saint Thomas Aquinas. This is my second year at STA. I also serve as the school counselor at Saint Joan of Arc. I received my bachelor’s degree from Indiana University/Purdue University in Sociology. I then went on to pursue my master’s degree, in School Counseling and Mental Health Therapy. During this time, I began working for the Indianapolis Public School Districts, Special education department, in the life skills classroom. Upon completing my master’s degree, I transitioned into mental health therapy, working in Lawrence, Pike, and Washington Townships high school setting. From these experiences, I have learned to work and serve students and families, from many different backgrounds, cultures, and environments. Counseling has allowed me to bridge the gaps between the school and family. Helping students effectively problem solve, educating and inspiring them to do their personal best! I look forward to meeting all of you. Please visit the Mental Health newsletter section to learn more about my role in the school and how I can assist you and your child. Also, please feel free to contact me at gfields@staindy.org if you need any assistance.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act daily. It helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. One in 5 Americans experiences mental health conditions in their lifetime.

Over the course of your life, as you experience stressors, your thinking, mood, and behavior can be affected. The Covid-19 pandemic Is causing disruption to normal everyday life for students and families. It is normal and expected that this disruption will cause changes to your thoughts and emotions.

The purpose of this newsletter is to give information and strategies to students and families to help everyone cope with this unusual situation. Future issues will focus on family stressors, grief, and loss, anxiety, depression, dysregulated behaviors, mindfulness practices, dealing with change, self-care, and other topics.

Protecting Your Mental Health

From AFSP.org

Keep in mind that although we can not control everything through this crisis, there are things we can control. Here are some suggestions that may help:

1. Separate what is in your control from what is not. There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those. Wash your hands. Remind others to wash theirs. Take your vitamins. Limit your consumption of news including social media (be conscious of how much information you expose yourself and your family to).


2. Do what helps you feel a sense of safety. This will be different for everyone and it’s important not to compare yourself to others. It’s ok if you’ve decided what makes you feel safe is different from other parents or families, but make sure you separate when you are isolating based on the potential for sickness versus isolating because it’s part of depression.


3. Get outside in nature, even if you are avoiding crowds. Take a walk in your neighborhood with your children, with the cold weather take time to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate together. Exercise also helps both your physical and mental health.


4. Challenge yourself to stay in the present. Perhaps your worry is compounding; you are not only thinking about what is currently happening but also projecting into the future. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently, bring yourself back to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, tastes, and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Engaging in mindfulness activities is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control.


5. Stay connected and reach out if you need more support. Talk to trusted friends about what you are feeling. If you are feeling particularly anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, it's ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry and it can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with those trained to help.

Need Help?

If your child is in crisis and needs immediate help, please call 911 for assistance.

National crisis hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis line via online chat at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat or by text: Send the word HOME to 741741

Community Health Network: 317-621-5700

Provides immediate assessments by phone for persons experiencing a mental health crisis 24 hours daily and offers referrals ad scheduling for mental health and addiction treatment providers.

Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center:

317-880-8485

Provides 24-hour telephone crisis interventions for persons with mental health or addiction treatment emergencies.

Aspire Indiana Crisis Line: 1-800-560-4038

Provides 24-hour phone crisis interventions for persons experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis.

Adult & Child Mental Health Center:

1-877-882-5122

Provides a 24-hour crisis and referral phone line.

Families First: 317-251-7575

24-hour crisis and suicide intervention services by both phone and text messaging.

Indiana Coalition against Domestic Violence:

1-800-332-7385

Offers 24-hour crisis intervention, safety planning and shelter referrals for persons in domestic violence situations.