Domestic Violence Awareness Month at Huck House

Written By Claire Herbert, Victim Services Specialist

October, Domestic Violence Awareness month, is dedicated to providing education and awareness about Domestic Violence, commonly referred to as Intimate Partner Violence and includes Teen Dating Violence. According to breakthecycle.org, “nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.” Through the Huckleberry House Transitional Living Program (TLP), we serve young people who have experienced domestic and/or family violence through our Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program. We work closely with our young people to increase their feelings of safety and expand their support system as they transition to independent living.

Upon entering into VOCA young people are linked with a Counselor, Case Manager, Parenting Mentor (if parenting) and Victim Services Specialist (VSS). This team supports each young person develop a safety plan, begin to process their trauma, develop independent living skills, build healthy relationships and healthy boundaries, work towards educational and/or employment goals, and learn about the impact domestic violence and trauma can have on their children.

The TLP VOCA program works hard to build community among clients. There is a community office that is staffed by a Community Support Assistant (CSA) 24 hours a day that clients can visit to receive support, make food, or just hang out with staff or other clients. The CSA’s offer monthly groups to clients including cooking, exercise, learning about hair styles, knitting, and other topics clients are interested in exploring. There is also a monthly dinner held in the office for clients where they can engage with each other and their team. During dinner child-care is provided by a parenting mentor so our young people can have time to focus on themselves.

At TLP we aim to provide our survivors of domestic and family violence the tools and resources to transition to independent living and achieve their goals. Our staff does an excellent job of providing education and support to our clients and our client are great at building community and support among each other! Huckleberry House is also dedicated to providing community education to #breakthecycle of violence within our communities.

Believe It or Not, Coloring is Therapeutic!

Guest Post Written by: Dana C. Love, Author and Survivor

When I felt no one could understand what I was going through, and I felt alone during the difficult times in my life, coloring helped me to cope and to heal. I’ve experienced childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence. I’ve had to have surgery to repair my brokenness. I endured the loss of my father to suicide, job loss, and experienced sexual harassment on the job. I did not enjoy any of this, nor did I ask for any of these things to happen to me.

My experiences span the time frame from a child to an adult and so the fact that I can relate on both levels is a blessing because while I may never have an answer for why I endured mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical abuse, I did overcome. Now, I am passionate about helping both adults and children to overcome their difficult times as well.

My dream is that sharing this coloring book and what coloring and being creative has meant to me will somehow assist you on your journey towards healing. It worked for me!

 

As a child, author Dana C. Love was lovingly taught by her mother how to color pages in her coloring books. She was taught to stay within the lines, color in the same direction, and allow her imagination to run wild and have fun. This skill would serve the author well through her life’s journey.

Dana resides in Arkansas. She is an only child and mother of two. Her passions include coloring, interior and exterior decorating, paint by stickering, staging her home with decor, reading, doodling, and laughing out loud (literally). 

You may contact the author and buy her coloring book on her website.

The Shame of Suicide

By Leslie Scott, MSSA, LSW, CTP-C, Professional Development Coordinator

One thing I have learned from years as a social worker is that suicide is shameful. People surrounded by those who have died by suicide, almost died by suicide, or contemplated suicide feel a sense of shame. This shame stems from misnomers and stigma. Society also perpetuates the belief that suicide is a choice, rather than a symptom of a mental health disorder.

In fact, suicide is an impulse. Making an individual’s ability to delay, distract, and deescalate critical to saving a life. Why? Impulses go away, fade, and change. When the person experiences this impulse, it is the only thing they are thinking about. They are not thinking about their loved ones, consequences, other choices, or the pain.

Fighting the shame of suicide also starts with understanding what happens to an individual before their death. Knowing someone’s history doesn’t just provide critical risk factors, it allows us to grow, show empathy, and encourage those still alive with similar histories to seek help. Below is a list of life events that can increase a person’s risk of suicide. Some are everyday events, which can lead to thoughts of death, while others are traumatic events that impact a person’s mental health long-term. With both these types of events, it’s important to remember, the person who dies by suicide may not have experienced this event but could have witnessed this event and still suffered the same impact.

Everyday events Less common events
Break-Ups

Loss of a job

Being arrested

Using alcohol or drugs

Changing schools

Feeling unsupported

Seeing violence

Seeing someone die by suicide

Being abused

Not being cared for as a child

Having health issues that don’t get better

Mass shootings

Community Violence

Intimate Partner Violence

(Kahn, 2019; Stone, Bou-Saada, & Ceurvo, 2018)

Let us step into their shoes for a quick minute — imagine yourself as you are today. You are blank years-old, reading this blog post, then you get a text message. Déjà vu happens. Suddenly, you become a five year-old little being abused by his or her uncle or a five year-old, terrified child watching their mother get hit, or a five year-old feeling alone after your friend dies. Your younger self then thinks, life is hopeless, hurtful, and will never get better. It is not the you of today that acts on the impulse to harm yourself, but the younger you that was hurt.

A more common scenario might be — you are in a car accident and hit a deer. You are terrified and keep thinking, “I could have almost died.” Every time you get in the car, you think about that deer. You feel scared again. It gets better, time goes by and you think about it less. Then, a year later, you drive by that spot for the first time. A wave of panic hits you and you cannot breathe. You are sweating, shaking, and you cannot stop thinking about that deer. This is how our bodies react to trauma.

Some of us experience this and start to think about suicide. Maybe our brains tell us “you should have died that day,” “why did I survive,” “it is all my fault and I should be dead.” Take a second to focus on how you feel just reading these words. This feeling is a thousand times stronger when they are being said in your own head. This is what the impulse of suicide feels like.

Therefore, it is important to remember our histories are not like the histories in textbooks. We do not always experience them and move on, but rather we move on, always carrying those histories with us.

If you filled a book bag with books, each book representing an experience listed above that has happened to you (a breakup, being arrested, seeing violence), how heavy would your book bag be? Would you struggle to stand up? Would you fall backwards? Would your shoulders hurt? Or would it be light and easy to carry? Every person has their own book bag to carry and only you know how heavy it is.

We must support each other as we carry our own book bags. We must show each other healthy positivity to get through the tough moments. You do not need to sacrifice yourself or be everybody’s best friend — but random acts of kindness, politeness, friendship, and empathy can save someone’s life.

 

What is one small act of healthy positivity you can do today?

Text your friend that you love them and are glad they are in your life.

Hug your parents or your siblings.

Reach out for help.

Thank the restaurant employee who serves you.

Surprise the office with donuts.

Leave a random note of kindness for a stranger.

Donate your time or money to a non-profit.

Share this post on social media or via email and include your small step of healthy positivity you plan to show today.

 

If you are struggling with thoughts of death, suicide, or wanting to harm yourself, please reach out to one of these resources. And in case you haven’t heard it today — you are wanted in this world and things get better.

Lifeline # 1-800-273-8255 24/7/365

Lifeline Chat Online 24/7/365

Huckleberry House Crisis Line 614-294-5553

OSU Students can call 614-292-5766

Call or Text for Help 614-221-5445

Teen Suicide Hotline 614-294-3300

LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide Hotline @ The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386

The Franklin County Suicide Prevention Coalition 614-299-6600 ext. 2073

Go immediately to any emergency room or police station

For adults, they can call or walk into Netcare Access for help

 

Huckleberry House can also come talk to you about suicide and how to help teens or young adults struggling. If you would like a staff member to speak at your workplace, please reach out via profdev@huck-house.org or 614-294-8097.

If you’d like a staff member to come speak with teens or young adults about getting help, please contact us at 614-294-8097.

Stay up to date with information about professional development opportunities, by signing up for our newsletter.

 

Citations

Kahn, A. (2019, May 1). What You Should Know About Suicide. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/suicide-and-suicidal-behavior#risk-factors

Stone, D. M., Bou-Saada, I., & Cuervo, E. (2018, March 15). Suicide & Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Preventing Suicide through Collaborative Upstream Interventions. Retrieved from https://suicideprevention-icrc-s.org/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/events/18_3_15_aceswebinarslides.pdf

World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide is never an easy topic to discuss, whether with clients, friends, or yourself. But that conversation can also be the reason someone doesn’t follow through with a plan or learns about suicide, so they can spread information to other youth. Here are some much needed tips for successful conversations with youth about suicide.

Starting the Conversation 

  • I’ve noticed you’ve been down lately, are you doing alright?
  • For some people when they feel down, they also think about death. Are you having thoughts about wanting to die?
  • Do you have thoughts about death?
  • You’ve mentioned previous suicide attempts, everything you have going on can be really stressful, are you having thoughts about wanting to die or hurt yourself?  (OR use a specific example instead of “everything you have going on”– starting counseling, being in the crisis shelter, staying at TLP, living on the streets)

Follow Up Questions if they say ‘yes’

  • Do you want to die? Or do you want to take action to end your life? OR Have you ever thought about how you would die?
  • Is this something you think about often?
  • Does anything you do make these thoughts go away?
  • Have you thought about how you might harm yourself?
  • Can you get access to pills, guns, knifes, or other weapons easily?
  • Do you know anyone who has died by suicide?

Having the Conversation 

  • Avoid using the word “committed” suicide, instead say “died by suicide”, as this decreases the negative stigma and recognizes when someone is suffering from significant mental health — suicide is a consequence & symptom of their disease.
  • Tell them lots of people who suffer from mental illness, like depression, struggle with thoughts of death or wanting to harm themselves. These thoughts can be hard to turn off or ignore.
  • Encourage them to find positive supports and treatment.
  • Ask them how people have responded to previous suicide attempts.
  • Help them identify what they wish could be different and what they can do about it.
  • Be careful not to judgment them or make assumptions.
  • Be realistic about what you can do — do not make promises.
  • Use the word suicide and make sure they understand what it means.
  • Be their ally. Share some strengths they have. Give them resources.
  • For resources, keep reading!!!

After the conversation 

  • Make sure the client stays in sight and is away from weapons & other things that can be turned into a weapon (such as a sharpened pencil or scissors)
  • Contact on-call or (in emergencies) the police
  • If possible, ask another staff person to dial, while you stay with the client (or vise versa)
  • Use the client’s words to tell on-call or the police what risk (how likely) a client is to hurt themselves, if they have weapons or a plan
  • Safety plan with the client — this includes finding helpful activities, warning signs, and helpful adults they can call for help
  • DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!!!!!

Warning Signs 

  • Change in behavior
  • Not wanting to be around others
  • Giving away possessions or saying goodbye
  • Feeling sad, down, blue, or depressed & it doesn’t get better
  • Talking about loneliness or feeling alone
  • Not thinking about their future positively or saying things like “I don’t have a future” or “what future”
  • Talk negatively about themselves — low self-esteem
  • Refuses to participate in coping skills
  • History of mental health or trauma (like abuse) – LGBTQ+ & Children who were adopted are at an increased risk for dying from suicide
  • Feeling rejected
  • Feeling hopeless , helpless, or trapped
  • Mood swings
  • Not having anywhere to go or having any supports
  • Being in an abusive relationship
  • Risky behaviors, such as drinking or doing drugs for the first time when sad
  • Goes from sad to energizer bunny happy or from happy to sad (this will appear as a cycle and often with out cause or trigger, sudden changes in mood can be signs of a more serious condition, which can increase the risk of suicide)

Remember, part of what makes suicide really hard is that most often it’s based on impulse.

 

Resources for Clients 

Lifeline # 1-800-273-8255 24/7/365

Lifeline Chat Online 24/7/365

Huck House Crisis Line 614-294-5553

OSU Students can call 614-292-5766

Call or Text for Help 614-221-5445

Teen Suicide Hotline 614-294-3300

LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide Hotline @ The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386

The Franklin County Suicide Prevention Coalition 614-299-6600 ext. 2073

Go immediately to any emergency room or police station

For adults, they can call or walk into Netcare Access for help

Kaleidoscope Youth Center Named a Safe Place

Kaleidoscope Youth Center is now a designated Safe Place in the central Ohio community. The building will display the yellow and black Safe Place sign, which signifies immediate help and safety for youth.

It is estimated over one million youth run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn. Columbus’ Safe Place initiative, operated by Huckleberry House, is part of a national network of Safe Place programs in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 20,000 community businesses and organizations nationwide display the Safe Place sign, making help readily available for youth in need.

“By making KYC a Safe Place, it provides a safe alternative for runaway or homeless youth in their community,” states Becky Westerfelt, Executive Director of Huckleberry House.

Kaleidoscope Youth Center Executive Director Erin Upchurch states, “This is an important next step for KYC in our continued expansion to meet the needs of our young people. Our youth need to know that there is a community that is here for them with resources and care. We’re very excited to grow our partnership with Huckleberry House in this way.”

Huckleberry House is central Ohio’s Safe Place® agency and has 135 partner sites, including all 23 locations in the Columbus Metropolitan Library system. In addition to Safe Place sites, youth may also access immediate help via TXT 4 HELP, a text-for-support service for youth in crisis. Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address, city, state) to 69866 and receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and the number for the local youth shelter. Users also have the option to text interactively with a mental health professional for more help.

 

About Huckleberry House

Started in 1970 as a shelter for runaway teens, Huckleberry House serves young people and families in crisis. The organization’s four core programs include a 24-hour shelter for teens, an 18-month transitional living program for young adults who have experienced homelessness and are preparing to live independently in permanent housing, a youth outreach team that connects young people with resources and a family support counseling program with an expertise in adolescent cognitive behavior practices. To learn more visit: www.huckhouse.org.

 

About National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership organization offering tailored organizational development, training and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally recognized programs Safe Place, HTR3, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). To learn more, please visit www.nspnetwork.org.

 

About Kaleidoscope Youth Center

Established in 1994, Kaleidoscope Youth Center is the largest and longest standing organization serving LGBTQIA+ young people, ages 12-24, in the state of Ohio. Kaleidoscope works in partnership with youth to create safer and affirming spaces for young people through their drop-in center, community education and outreach, advocacy and civic engagement, and in health and wellness, and housing opportunities. To learn more, please visit: www.kycohio.org.

Building a Happy Classroom: For You and Your Students

By Leslie Scott, MSSA, LSW, CTP-C, Professional Development Coordinator

With the start of a new school year, comes new school supplies, new students, new teachers, and lots of new emotions. Emotions that often express themselves in the classroom. Sometimes this is excitement, joy, and relief. Sometimes this is anger, worry, or loneliness. As a teacher, this alone is a lot to handle, not to mention the lesson plans, paperwork, and other commitments.

By making the classroom a better place for students and teachers, we build positive role models and the foundation of success for every child. So, as you start this school year, here are a couple tips to help your classroom start off right.

KNOW YOUR VALUES

Why did you become a teacher? Was it because of a teacher who impacted your life? Were your parents’ teachers? Did you want to change people’s lives? It’s easy to forget that when someone makes an impact in our lives, they are really teaching us their most important values. Their values then become powerful memories for us. What are your most important values?

If you had to pick one of those values to apply to every activity, lecture, or interaction with students, which value would it be? Take time to focus on active steps you can make this year to instill that value.

KEEP THEM IN THE CLASSROOM

Studies show that when students are out of the classroom for behavioral concerns, they are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system. Resulting in the “School to Prison Pipeline”.

7 million students were suspended or expelled in the 2011-2012 school year. At highest risk are non-white and disabled students. (US Department of Education, 2016).

Being in the classroom teaches valuable life skills, how to manage emotions, reinforces positive behaviors, and tips for focusing. This helps students stay engaged in learning and builds a healthy relationship between you and the student. You may be the only healthy influence in their life or the only who notices they are struggling. That is a chance for them to get help and start building the coping skills they need for a healthy adulthood.

Having these items available to students can keep homeless or neglect students attending:
  • Non-perishable snacks and bottles of water
  • Deodorant or Shower Wipes (that don’t use water)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste kits
  • Comfy socks
  • Plain t-shirts (so they can wear them multiple times without people noticing or bullying them)
  • Underwear

INCREASE AWARENESS OF SELF

Small moments of mindfulness can also help keep students engaged. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be quiet, zen-full, or yoga. Mindfulness is about being in the present. Starting your class off, ending your class, or taking a short break to connect with the present, can help students remain in the classroom, but also learn to connect with their body, their needs, and their emotions.

Short mindful moments to try:
  • Deep breathing
  • Ring a bell – have everyone freeze, focus on their body – do they feel tense? Restless? Stressed? Take some deep breaths, relaxing their body from their feet to their head
  • Before the end of class bell rings, think of 1 thing you need to be successful in your next class
  • Stretching, standing up, move seats mid-class (if you’re willing to risk it… last person who sits down must clean the classroom)
  • Write or say something nice to themselves or someone else
  • Snack break – maybe a mint or small piece of chocolate
  • Popcorn “get to know you” or “ice breaker” questions
  • Play soft music or meditations in the background
  • For students with ADD/ADHD or just struggle to remain seated, give them small tasks to complete throughout the class. Physical tasks (even if unnecessary) can be the physical release of energy they need to focus.
Other Coping Skills for the Classroom:
  • Rainbow: Find each color of the rainbow, while deep breathing, focus back in on your work or the teacher talking
  • Remind yourself where you are and that you are safe
  • Take a short bathroom break
  • Doodling or note taking
  • Talk about alternative choices non judgmentally
  • Give yourself a hug while deep breathing (great for trauma)
  • Calming jar
  • Feelings cube
  • Quiet corner with bean bag chairs
  • Alternative to lectures – provide books for students to read on the topic
  • Write a list of 5 positive things about yourself or your life
  • Write a letter to your teacher sharing your worries, concerns, or other feelings
  • Schedule a meeting with your school counselor during your lunch time
  • Have a jar or place for students to pick a classroom coping skill

Whichever of these coping skills you choose to incorporate in the classroom, it’s important to discuss them in a positive way throughout the year. Students may live in environments where mental health is viewed negatively, or seeking treatment is frowned upon. Talking about coping skills as a positive prevention step, allows students to explore for themselves their beliefs and learn healthy coping.

One of the most effective skills I’ve seen in classrooms, is allowing students open access to a mental health safe space. At any age, when students are given the opportunity to correct their behavior or respond to a need, we are building their self-esteem, awareness, and positive coping. Choose a place in your classroom, maybe close to the door or in the back of the classroom. Keep books, appropriate fidget items, and written ideas for coping skills. Some teachers use mailboxes or a feelings container, where students can write anonymously or to the teacher what they are feeling. Teachers tell me they’ve gotten letters disclosing that students were being bullied, didn’t have enough to eat, or were afraid to raise their hand in class. Students tell me they like being able to write down their negativity, put it in a box, and leave it there. Rather than carrying it with them, thinking about it throughout their day.

If you do not remain the same room all day, carrying or having a feelings box for each room helps you connect to each of your students. The easiest way to create this box, is to buy a small tubberware or storage bin. Put stickers and other creative charms on the outside. Introduce the box to the students. If the box is anonymous, encourage students to rip up their letters before placing them in the box, as a way of taking charge of their emotions.

If you are worried about students reading other’s letters, there are boxes you can purchase with locks. It’s important to talk about what it means for the classroom to be a safe space with students. This helps them take ownership and pride in creating a safe space, rather than being a guest in it.

FIDGET TOYS

Fidget toys are not needed for everyone, but many students find them useful. Students who have traumatic events at home, such as abuse, fighting, or drug use, can use fidget toys to keep them focused on their schoolwork and in the classroom.

Alternatives to typical fidget toys:

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

You’ve probably heard the analogy; you can’t help someone put their oxygen mask on if you don’t put yours on first. Don’t wait until you are already burned out. Take moments throughout the day to put yourself first.

Write yourself a self-care plan. Fill it with easy items that you can do throughout your day, such as taking a deep breathing break before entering the classroom or read a book before bed. Remember, for you to show empathy towards others, you must first show empathy to yourself. This includes recognizing and respecting your own emotions, needs, and wants.

BUILD STUDENT SAFETY NETS

Before issues arise in your classroom, ask your school counselor to come introduce themselves, do empathy building activities, or take 5 minutes to tell each student about Huckleberry House and other counseling resources available to them. Try keeping a clipboard with student’s names in your room, where they can write down if they need help or let you know if they had a bad night. Have coping skills and fidget toys ready for students to grab, as they need, rather than asking for them or depending on them to bring them into the classroom.

Did you know that Huckleberry House will come to classrooms to talk about our crisis shelter, counseling, and housing programs? We also offer lots of professional development trainings and can come to your school for PD days.

Have resources ready for them – have a place in your classroom or let your students know that their counselor has resources outside their office for counseling and other needs. Normalize that counseling and mental health disorders are a common struggle for many people. It doesn’t make them crazy or mean something is wrong with them – it’s also not something they have to struggle with for their entire lives, should they choose to get help.

Show patience to students and their parents. Just as with students, parents with disruptive, rude, or disengaged behaviors may also be struggling with getting their basic needs met, struggling with a mental health disorder, or have grown up in a traumatic environment. All these factors have been shown in research to not only impact brain development, but also our behavior, perception of other’s actions, our physical and mental health.

“The parents who require the most patience, are often the children we missed”

– Jaida Green, a Therapist at the Counseling Center

If you’d like Huckleberry House to come speak to your students, please contact our Youth Outreach Specialist, Jasmine Ayres, at (614) 826-3630.

If you’re interested in a training by Huckleberry House, please contact us at profdev@huck-house.org or by phone (614) 294-8097.

24/7/365 Huckleberry House Crisis Line @ (614) 294-5553

Resources

US Department of Education. (2016, July 18). School Climate and Discipline: Know the Data. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/school-discipline/data.html

City of Grandview Heights Fire Division Named a Safe Place

City of Grandview Heights Fire Division is now a designated a Safe Place in the central Ohio community. The building will display the yellow and black Safe Place sign, which signifies immediate help and safety for youth.

It is estimated over one million youth run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn. Columbus’ Safe Place initiative, operated by Huckleberry House, is part of a national network of Safe Place programs in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 20,000 community businesses and organizations nationwide display the Safe Place sign, making help readily available for youth in need.

“By making their fire station a Safe Place, the city of Grandview Heights provides a safe alternative for runaway or homeless youth in their community,” states Becky Westerfelt, Executive Director of Huckleberry House.

Grandview Heights Fire Chief Steve Shaner states, “We are happy to collaborate with Huckleberry House to connect those youth that may need help with the services they need”.

Huckleberry House is central Ohio’s Safe Place® agency and has 134 partner sites, including all 33 locations in the Columbus Fire Stations. In addition to Safe Place sites, youth may also access immediate help via TXT 4 HELP, a text-for-support service for youth in crisis. Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address, city, state) to 69866 and receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and the number for the local youth shelter. Users also have the option to text interactively with a mental health professional for more help.

 

About Huckleberry House

Started in 1970 as a shelter for runaway teens, Huckleberry House serves young people and families in crisis. The organization’s four core programs include a 24-hour shelter for teens, an 18-month transitional living program for young adults who have experienced homelessness and are preparing to live independently in permanent housing, a youth outreach team that connects young people with resources and a family support counseling program with an expertise in adolescent cognitive behavior practices. To learn more visit: www.huckhouse.org.

About National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership organization offering tailored organizational development, training and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally recognized programs Safe Place, HTR3, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). To learn more, please visit www.nspnetwork.org.

About City of Grandview Heights Division of Fire

The City of Grandview Heights, Division of Fire has served the citizens of Grandview Heights, Marble Cliff and surrounding neighbors for over 85 years.  In 2019, the department will respond to more than 2,000 calls. For more information go to www.grandviewheights.org.

Back-to-School Mental Health Checklist

 

This is a blog post from Nationwide Children’s On Our Sleeves the movement to transform children’s mental health.

Changing schedules. Supply lists. Forms to fill out. New teachers to meet. Heading back to school can be exciting, yet stressful.

We’re here to help you get organized and reduce your feelings of anxiety and stress. Our On Our Sleeves back-to-school checklist to make sure you and your child start the year off right.

  1. Get back into a routine. About 1-2 weeks before school starts, gradually (15 minutes each day) move your child’s bedtime and wake up time back to what they will be during the school year.
  2. Visit your doctor. Make sure your vaccine records and sports physicals are up to date!
  3. Review any changes from last year. Does your child have a new bus stop? Are they going to a new school? Walk to the new bus stop and attend an open house so they are ready.
  4. Get organized. Print and post school and extracurricular activity calendars so you don’t miss any important dates.
  5. Talk about expectations – yours and your child’s. Ask your child what their goals are for the school year. Is your rule that homework be done before screen time? Remind them.
  6. Plan for healthy meals and snacks. Involve your child in the process so they learn how to make healthy food choices.
  7. Schedule child care. Are you a working parent and need before and/or after school care? Make arrangements now.
  8. Sign up for fall sports and other after school activities. Research shows that getting kids involved in activities after school creates a sense of belonging and self-worth. Remember to maintain balance between family time, school and other activities.
  9. Meet teachers, coaches and program leaders. Introduce yourself to teachers, coaches and anyone else who will spend time with your child this year. Let them know the best way to reach you and share any important details about your child.
  10. Have a last hurrah. Go see that movie you didn’t have time to see this summer, take a family bike ride or visit a local attraction like a park, museum or zoo.

To view more back to school resources or to learn more about On Our Sleeves visit HERE.