Nationwide Children’s Hospital – On Our Sleeves

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

One in five children in the United States has a mental health condition. That’s one in five children in a homeroom class, on a baseball team or on the street where you live. That child, in fact, may be your own.

But there’s HOPE.

Helping our children’s mental health is something EVERYONE can do — not just parents and caregivers.

It’s time to have a national conversation about children’s mental health. It’s time to raise our voices for this important cause.

On Our Sleeves is proud to join the mental health community for Mental Health Month this May.

Children’s Mental Health Week

Mental health issues start younger, and their impact is broader, than most people realize. And because kids don’t wear their thoughts on their sleeves, we don’t know what they might be going through.

More than 10 percent of children 8 to 11 years old have experienced a mental illness. The percentage doubles for teenagers. Half of all lifetime mental illness, starts by age 14. That number increases to 75% by age 24.

From May 5 to May 10, the mental health community shines the light on children’s mental health. Join Nationwide Children’s Hospital in raising your voice for kids everywhere.

May 9: National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

 

May 9 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This day highlights the importance of caring for a child’s mental health and its importance in a child’s development.

Mental wellness and coping skills learned during childhood establish the foundation for future social, emotional and academic success. That’s why it’s important to recognize when a child is struggling and get them help as early as possible. All of us can help in improving mental health for children.

Tune in on May 9 for an incredible success and advocacy story.

 

This blog article is from Nationwide Children’s and their #OnOurSleeves Campaign.

Give Yoga Gives Back to Huck House

GIVE Yoga exists to build community around yoga for the good of the individual and the good of the world. GIVE Yoga is committed to Giving Yoga, Improving Strong Communities, and Developing Leaders. To fulfill this commitment, Huck House has been chosen as a partner nonprofit to which they will provide yoga to our transitional living program clients.

We envision that a practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness will give our clients a new healthy coping skill. A lot of our clients suffer from sleep issues and unhealthy habits. We hope that the new program will support healing. Additionally, we hope to see some of our clients feeling inspired by the physical health benefits of yoga as an exercise, and feel more driven to continue to invest in their own physical well-being. 

 

Give Yoga funding will ensure up to 12 classes taught by Cecilia Shanahan, a Registered Yoga Teacher and Qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher. She will focus her practice on our young women in our transitional living program who are victims of domestic violence as well as our young expecting mothers.

 

Walk with a Doc

Walk with a Doc Mission

Three of our young people (ages 17-22) in our Transitional Living Program participated last night in a walk and conversation with a health specialist. The topic was stress reduction, which is very difficult for our young people who have been recently homeless and/or victims of domestic violence.

The therapist had them identify their stress tolerance meter, physical manifestations of stress and what things trigger each stress level. Then she had them think about physical, creative, social and relaxation coping skills and had them each do a type of guided imagery exercise.

It was a great conversation and opportunity to get outside and enjoy the snow. We are very thankful for Walk With A Doc and their vision for communities to access medical providers on a regular basis and receive valuable medical advice that extends beyond physical activity. To learn more and see where you can join or start a walk visit here.

Love and Healthy Relationships – Jaida Green

Written by: Jaida Green, MSW, LSW, Family Support Program Therapist

Love: [noun] “Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties” (Merriam-Webster, 2019). Such a simple definition for a complex topic. Love is complex issue that people of all ages, races, and gender are faced with on a daily basis. This is especially true for the young people that we serve at Huckleberry House. As a therapist, people assume that the majority of what I talk to our youth about are topics such as depression, anxiety, and anger. While this is true, something that is also frequently brought up with our youth in therapy is love and healthy relationships. Being young and falling in love for the first time is sometimes a tough transition; finding out who you are as a teenager is difficult enough. Add learning how to love, and it is often twice as difficult. There are two specific lessons focusing on love and health relationships that frequently come up for our youth – “The Five Love Languages” and “Healthy Boundaries”.

Generally, there are five categories of ways that people prefer to both express and receive love. These categories are acts of service, gifts, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation. Acts of service are considered completing tasks that ease daily responsibilities (i.e. doing the dishes, making dinner, etc.). Gifts are self-explanatory, however it should be noted that the gifts don’t have to be over the top. Gifts can be small things that have thought and effort behind them and make the person feel loved. Physical touch is typically thought of as sexual contact, but this can also be things like hugs, pats of affection, or even holding hands. Quality time is spending time with a person while giving them your undivided attention. For many people this is one on one time doing things like going out to eat or talking over coffee. Lastly, words of affirmation are positive comments or things that are commonly thought of as nice to say (i.e. “You look great today,” or “I love you”). If you’re interested in finding out more about love languages, click here to take a quiz for yourself, or your child. You will need to click on the purple box that says “Learn your love language”.

Love PyramidAs mentioned above, healthy boundaries are also a common piece to consider when discussing healthy relationships. Knowing when to say “no” is something that can be difficult at any age, but is especially true for some of our youth. Often, this isn’t a conversation that is explicitly had with our youth outside of sexual consent. Knowing when to say no in other areas of a relationship and knowing what’s important to you has proven to be helpful as well. It’s also important to be assertive in relationships, specifically when setting a new boundary. An additional piece to having healthy boundaries is having respect for yourself and others. Arguments can sometimes be about winning, but that’s not a helpful mindset. Instead, helping all involved to feel that no one person’s needs are more important than the other can help to make arguments less confrontational. Lastly, considering the long term implications or consequences of an interaction can help to establish healthy boundaries. This allows for you to think more deeply about the situation and how to communicate respect. It should be noted that a relationship should not be one sided where one person is constantly giving or taking. Healthy relationships are born out of understanding, not only of yourself but also, the person you are in a relationship with. Whether it be a romantic relationship, friendship, or a relationship with a loved one, taking the time to learn more about yourself and the role you play, as well as the other person involved, can help to foster a positive healthy relationship.

What I would tell my 18-year old self about good health

For our focus on healthy living, we asked a Huck House friend to think about what he would tell his 18-year old self about living healthfully. Bill Mechling is a retired attorney and business executive. His commitment to good health is an example from which we all can learn.

There are many lessons a person learns as they proceed through life. As I sit here today at age 61, I can tell you the most important and impactful lesson I have learned is the important role that good nutrition and exercise play in maximizing your enjoyment of your life.

When I was eighteen, I participated in various sports and led a physically active life. I paid little attention, however, to my nutrition. My generation grew up with the advent of fast food, “super sizing” food portions and filing everything we ate with artificial sweeteners and preservatives. These factors became more important to the American diet than the nutrition content of food-to the point where nutrition was not even given a second thought. Besides, when I was eighteen I looked good and felt great-so why worry and why change anything?

It may sound cliché, but life truly does sneak up on you rather quickly. Those teen years rapidly turn into your twenties-then your thirties and beyond- as you are focusing on getting an education, beginning a career and starting a family. And while all of this is happening, biology deals you a cruel blow. Your body begins to change. Gone are the days when you can eat or drink anything without feeling -or seeing-the consequences. Read more

Healthy Living: 7 MINUTE WORKOUT WEDNESDAY

HEALTHY BLOGHealthy Living at Huck-House: 7 Minute Workout Wednesday

Eat healthier.

Exercise more.

Those messages are out there on every platform. But how do you start in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming?

One morning I was in the office with a young person talking about the things we liked about ourselves and things we hoped to change. We began brainstorming what changes we could realistically make in our lives and exercise became our focus. We decided a SHORT (less than 10 minute) workout session once a week was a manageable change. We made it an event and invited all interested Transitional Living Program (TLP) clients. As incentive for participation, I agreed to bring a healthy snack for after the workout. That was the beginning of 7 Minute Workout Wednesday.

This exercise group provides an opportunity for young people to get to know each other in a casual, informal way. Children are welcome, and it is a fun way for them to socialize with each other and with other adults. It has been amazing to see the youth take an active role in this group. They decide the content of the exercise each week and often lead a warm-up and cool-down. Participants are great at encouraging each other along the way. At our last group, the young people expressed an interest in an additional workout during the week or doing two back-to-back 7 minute workouts. Young people requesting more exercise is one of the biggest wins in my book!

The “healthy” snack. As you might imagine, the young people were skeptical of my healthy snack incentive. All I asked was that they keep an open-mind and provide honest feedback, which they have done very constructively. Snacks have included banana, peanut butter, and chocolate muffins; fruit and yogurt parfaits; and veggies and humus. So far, they have been a success and participants are seeing that “healthy” can take many forms and be delicious.

I am very excited to grow this group! Getting young people interested in their health and healthy habits has become a passion of mine. Exercise and how we fuel our body are important because of the diverse physical health, mental health, and social benefits. In a nation of increasingly sedentary lifestyles, making time to get out and move while being conscious of what we put in our body is vital to our heart health and immune function. Aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease depression and anxiety and as little as ten minutes of aerobic exercise per day can improve sleep. Monitoring sugar and cholesterol consumption can prevent devastating chronic conditions. And last, but certainly not least, the social interactions facilitated by this group provide an opportunity to build and strengthen the TLP community.

I have been inspired by the young peoples’ dedication to this group and I look forward to continuing the journey of healthy living at Huck House.

 

Claire Herbert

Community Support Assistant, Transitional Living Program

Beliefs Hanging in the Balance | By Jerome DeCarlo

December is a month full of anticipation, excitement and fear. We anticipate the fellowship of family, the excitement of the Holidays and fear the rapidly approaching end of the year. In our daily interactions we may also experience these same emotions. The anticipation of meeting new people, coupled with the excitement of developing a connection […]