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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #MentalHealth Matters: When ‘Back To #School’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Back In #School’

Annie Lindgren

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

Annie Lindgren

Poudre School District (PSD) #students went ‘Back to School’ on August 24, 2020, though they will be learning remotely rather than attending in person. #School administration, #teachers, and #parents have all had difficult decisions to make over the past month in preparation. Everyone is experiencing a #school year like never before.

Vicky Jordan retired PSD teacher, who is helping several #students in her family with the start of the school year shares: “I don’t think anyone wants to be responsible for causing someone to have long-term side-effects from contracting #Covid-19, or worse, deaths, especially when known measures can prevent that. Not gathering in large groups, like at school, is one of those measures. We need to think long-term and do the best we can in the short-term. Learning matters, however we can help that happen.”

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Amid #pandemic related restrictions, #parents and guardians everywhere are handling things based on what is best for their #child(ren), their situation, and resources available to help. Not all conditions are conducive to ideal remote learning experiences. Many #parents are stressed, and many #students are missing out on the benefits of the traditional school setting.

Poudre School District had the summer to get better systems in place for handling the variety of educational forums that could accompany the upcoming school year. Detailed information on what to expect, given to parents and #students, can also be found on the PSD webpage. Resources are available for laptops, internet access, and IT support in multiple languages. Every teacher will have learning pages that will be consistent and accessible through the same place as remote learning materials.

Madeline Noblett, Executive Director of Communications at PSD, shares: “Between spring and summer 2020, #teachers and staff have participated in more than 20,000 collective hours of remote education training. During training in early August, 65 classes focused upon building connections with #students and were designed to help educators increase their proficiency and comfort with remote learning.” Training and support for #teachers and staff continue.

Here are some tips for helping students be successful in remote learning:

  • Have a space in the home set aside for learning. This creates a #mental boundary for focusing on #school work and signifies to others in the house that the #student is working.
  • Maintain a consistent daily schedule and routine. From morning wake-up and getting dressed for the day, lunchtime, and evening routine and bedtime. Schedule blocks of time for work on specific subjects and projects, and other activities conducive to learning (like exercise, outdoor time, hobbies or play, and social time).
  • Use a board to display the schedule and assignments for the week. Check off tasks that are complete, and showcase tokens of the #student’s achievements.
  • Get creative in utilizing supports by asking friends, family, and employers for help or advice.
  • Support #students as they gain routine in remote learning by reading all correspondence from the #school and holding them accountable to their schedule.
Photo provided by Kallie Cooper; her 6yr and 8yr old boys’ remote learning space

“It is so important right now that our #students and their families hear they are not alone,” said Melanie Voegeli-Morris, PSD #MentalHealth and Prevention Coordinator. “They do not have to navigate the challenges of our new #COVID-19 world by themselves. I am so proud to say that our team of compassionate #mentalhealthprofessionals is ready to support #students, whether they feel lonely, isolated, anxious, scared, depressed, or all of those things at once. Parents and guardians can help their #children access additional supports by contacting their #child’s #school counselor. PSD Special Service Professionals, including #MentalHealthSpecialists, Social Workers, and Psychologists work with #school counselors to meet #students’ social, emotional, and #mentalhealthneeds.”

For those in need of #mentalhealthsupport outside of what #school counselors can help with, here are other great resources in Larimer County:

Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah on Pexels.com

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