Put Mental Health and Wellness at the Top of Your Back-to-School List
After months of playing with friends in the Florida sun, kids and teens will soon be trading their bikes for the school bus and spending time in class with their peers instead of at the swimming pool.
Back-to-school can be an exciting time, but also comes with possible feelings of stress and anxiety.
Mental Health America (MHA), the nation's leading community-based non-profit dedicated to the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of everyone, has many ways parents and teens can make their mental health a priority while preparing for a new school year.
Parents are encouraged to make their own mental health a priority and model healthy behaviors and coping skills. According to Mental Health America, children and teens pick up on anxiety and tension in adults around them. MHA encourages parents to practice healthy lifestyles, have open communication with their children, and recognize when their struggles may be a sign of something bigger. Common symptoms of mental health conditions include: changes in appetite and sleep patterns, problems with concentration, feeling sad or hopeless, and loss of interest in things they used to enjoy.
Sometimes the best way to feel safe is to prepare yourself and your family for how to handle situations that scare them if they were to happen, rather than worrying about them. Feeling safe means having people you trust who can support you. MHA encourages students to find an adult at school who knows them and can be an ally if they feel threatened.
Self-care is a vital health care tool that can immediately help with your mental wellness. It can be as simple as taking a few moments to breathe and relax. For students, self-care may include putting down the homework and heading out to a Hillsborough County Park for recreational activity to give their brains a break. Learn more about self-care from Crisis Center of Tampa Bay experts, including different self-care ideas.
According to MHA, 50% of all people who will have a mental health disorder in their lifetime start to experience symptoms by age 14. Organizations across the country, including in the Tampa Bay area, are working to reduce to stigma surrounding mental health.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Mindful Mondays promotes different ways you can make your mental health a priority but not take up too much of your busy schedule. From chair yoga virtual classes to tips on how to decompress after a long day, Hillsborough County's Mindful Mondays has various interactive resources for you to access no matter the day or time.
Interested in mindful videos that help improve your mental health? Check out the Mindful Monday's YouTube Playlist.