Mindfulness is a very popular word right now. The definition of mindfulness is "the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something." Another definition states it as being "a mental state acheived by focusing one's awareness on the presen moment, while calmly acknoledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations." We already know there are immense benefits to the practice of mindfulness as adults. In recent years, there have been many schools implementing mindfulness practices into their schools, and they too are seeing great outcomes. It makes sense when you consider that we are working with youth to be more aware of themselves - their feelings, their bodies, their actions, etc. This helps build better social/emotional outcomes while also enhancing the climate of the classroom and hallways. Read more about this practice here http://health.usnews.com/wellness/mind/articles/2016-12-08/mindfulness-in-schools-when-meditation-replaces-detention
And, may you all have a very happy, mindful holiday season!
I attended the Grow Our Own Summit yesterday in Marshall, Minnesota. This gathering was aimed at understanding the increasing opportunity gap that is occurring nationally as well as right here in Southwest Minnesota. I was struck by a number of statistics shared.
There was also some more positive news and ideas, too.
And the statistic that I keep wrestling with in the hours following this training is:
1 in 5 students in Southwest Minnesota have contemplated suicide. 1 in 5.
Even as someone who works in this field, that number seemed high. We have work to do. I hope you'll join me in the efforts of empowering adults to understand and intervene when we are seeing these struggles.
Excited to talk about Mental Health Strategies and Interventions with webinar partcicipants today!
If you haven't signed up yet, please register at www.swsc.org/workshops
See you at 3PM!
On November 30th, we hosted a webinar on Bullying Prevention and Intervention. It was an engaged group of participants, and we covered a lot of information in one hour. If you're looking for more information, assistance, or consultation on bullying topics, please call or email me!
Don't forget to sign up for our Monthly Mental Health Webinar Series at www.swsc.org/workshops. We've got a lot of powerful workshops planned that will help you be more effective each and every day!
Don't forget the Monthly Mental Health Webinar Series begins TODAY! The first webinar is Moving Beyond Excuses: The Reality of Bullying. There are so many misconceptions about bullying - what it means, how it happens, and what its effects are. Let's work together to understand the true nature of the problem and how we can best intervene to improve outcomes with youth.
We often underestimate our abilities to help. We think that we can't possibly have the right words to say the proper thing or respond the right way. We don't need to be perfect when we reach out to someone else; we just need to be present and genuine. One of my favorite stories in the news of late is about a 4-year old girl named Norah and an elderly man named Dan. You see, Dan had been struggling with immense grief, depression, and loneliness for quite some time. In a random chance encounter in the grocery store, Norah reached out to him, told him about her birthday, asked for a hug, and even took a photo with him. Listening to the way he talks about this brief encounter, it's easy to see it changed the way he looked at the world around him. This simple action from a 4-year-old helped ease the immense mental pain that this widower was going through and allowed him to feel like had a purpose in life again. They've since bonded further and see each other weekly. We don't have to be experts to reach out to one another. We just need to be present.
Take a few minutes to watch this video and remember to be present this week as others in the grocery store aisle or gas station line may be needing an extra smile or encouragement, too.
Earlier this week, I presented at the Minnesota Rural Education Association Conference (MREA). MREA serves as a voice for Greater Minnesota schools. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with others in rural school districts and discuss the very real needs we have especially with responding to mental health challenges. I presented on Youth Mental Health First Aid and Other Strategies for Schools. We had engaging, meaningful conversation about how to best meet these on-going and increasing needs. I enjoyed presenting and meeting other attendees as a vendor. It's always a powerful experience to get so many invested, caring, and intelligent professionals together in one space.
It is now just as likely for middle school students to die from suicide as from traffic accidents.
Just as likely.
That statement is terribly hard to read. This new data comes at the same time as a new report shows that the rates of self-harm, including cutting, have more than tripled among 10- to 14-year olds.
We need to do more to meet the needs of our youth. We have to be proactive in watching our kids, knowing what to look for, and reaching out in compassionate ways. We have to know the resources that are out there to help our youth. We have to provide solutions and hope and recovery for kids. They need us.
Read more about this data, its implications, and possible influences here http://http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/04/health/suicide-adolescents-traffic-deaths.html?WT.mc_id=SmartBriefs-Newsletter&WT.mc_ev=click&ad-keywords=smartbriefsnl&_r=0