- Health and Wellness
Mental Health Month: Helpful Reminders & Resources
May is Mental Health Month and, each year during this time, I get really excited by the variety of new ideas, research and information that is shared across the mental health community. This year, in particular, we are all being given ample opportunity to self-assess our resilience, self-care, grit, and yes - even our limits. Hence, I often reflect on the idea that “we have already survived 100% of our worst days” which helps me to keep perspective and to remember that my personal challenges from 15 years ago have helped to form and shape the person I am today.
Our Mental Health is a Priority
Since 1949, Americans have celebrated Mental Health Month as a time when we can collectively raise our awareness, share best practices in supporting one another and ourselves, and to dive into resources that help us to better understand ourselves and the people with whom we interact every day. There is so much information out there to share on this subject and it can be overwhelming. I hope to share with you here a couple of vetted resources that are keeping pace with the rapidly-evolving state of affairs surrounding COVID-19, so that we can collectively focus on what we can identify as “top priorities.” Our health & safety, our loved ones, our perspective and the opportunities that are presented for all of us.
Stay Informed & Learn More
Please peruse as many or as few of the informative links provided here as you wish. However, as you navigate through, maintain focus on the fact that we are not alone. We all can, and need, to reach out to someone else at various times; and this is certainly one of those times. We can lean on one another. We can learn from one another. And we can even experience challenges together. Remember, no one should ever feel that they have to suffer in silence or alone and there are so many places to get help. Please always feel free to reach out, even if it is just to talk.
Take Care of Yourself Before You Can Care for Others
Ultimately, I am reminded of the image that is often shared when we speak of care for others; we are not as adept of caring for others if we neglect to take care of ourselves. In the meantime, as I focus on my own perspective and seek out the many positive “silver linings” that have emerged in this global pandemic, I await the next exciting story from one of our students about how they have spent time with family during a game night, painted a picture with artistic abilities they did not know they had, leaned in to learning a new instrument or global language, or successfully engineered a roller coaster out of ordinary household items. Here is to taking care of ourselves, keeping a positive outlook, getting creative, reconnecting, and acknowledging that This Too Shall Come to Pass.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
Be safe and be well
Helpful Links for Parents to Help Understand, Support and Get Help for Mental Health
● Coping with COVID Stress from the CDC
● Mental Health America
● Cultures of DIgnity
● Helping Kids to Play Safely Outdoors During the Pandemic
● Mental Health First Aid During COVID
● Mirror Neurons and Mindful Parenting
● Tips for Managing the Stress of Social Distancing as a Family
For more tips and resources to support your students’ success, please visit the Elevate section on our website.
About the Author
Jessie Skipwith is the Student Success Coach and Licensed School Counselor at Aspen Academy.
Jessie comes to Aspen Academy with over 20 years of experience in educational leadership and student engagement. He has held head of school positions at elementary, middle and high schools, ran an all-school counseling department, provided private practice counseling services for families and individuals, and has served as the executive director of an education non-profit supporting low-income, English language learners from throughout the greater Denver area. He is a voracious reader of books about how students learn, how families and communities support developing young people, as well as books on progressive, innovative and dynamic new solutions to many of today’s life challenges. Jessie loves that Aspen Academy provides families and students with a small, nurturing and safe environment that encourages students to take healthy risks, to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, and that it inspires insatiable curiosity and wonder in students as they pursue their passions to help make the world a better place to live for all people. Outside of work, he loves to spend time with his wife and two children and enjoying Colorado’s great outdoors while hiking, golfing or skiing.