Personal & Community Wellness on World Mental Health Day

Sunday, October 10th is World Mental Health Day. Each year, around the globe, this day helps to draw a focus on issues related to mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma.

This year’s World Mental Health Day comes over a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began. While we’ve met new challenges, and faced old ones, head on, we continue to live our daily lives in a changing world. Mental health is impacted by far-reaching issues surrounding physical health, mental illnesses, emotional and behavioral disorders, social class and income disparity, systemic racism, gender and sexual orientation, trauma, addiction and more.

Access to appropriate mental health care is often inequitable. It is vitally important for all of us to invest in our own personal mental wellness, and that of our families and communities, by both utilizing and supporting mental health programs, networks, and services.

Below are local, state, and national resources to help open conversations on what mental health is, how we can help those in need, tips for mindfulness and other emotional support tools, and specific organizations to reach out to if you or someone you know is in need.

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Mental Health & Wellness For All

How Mindfulness Can Help Kids (and Parents!) Weather Emotional Storms

PreK-K
Mindfulness tools won’t prevent emotional storms. Sometimes, that’s just what it means to be a kid (and an adult!). Yet being aware of our thoughts, our emotions, our surroundings and our breathing can help us remain anchored while we wait for the clouds to pass.

How to Help Kids Who Are Too Hard on Themselves

All Ages
Children’s inner monologue, or self-talk, can be constructive or negative. Learn why kids talk themselves down and how to help steer kids away from destructive self-talk.

Mental Health: Centering Our Learners | Tools for Anti-Racist Teaching

All Ages
Systemic racism has a destructive and direct impact on mental health and identity development. This conversation will center learners, focusing on the importance of our role as educators and how what we teach affirms or invalidates identities of learners and people in our world. We will consider the impact on the past, immediate, and future mental health of our students, and explore how systemic racism undermines our own mental health and impacts our teaching practice.

Kindness, Empathy, and Resilience Collection

Grades 6-12
This collection of videos and lesson plans is about kindness, empathy, and the importance of practicing mindfulness. These resources will help parents and educators foster resilience in kids, and include strategies to help teenagers cope with the stresses of everyday life, as well as specific challenges.

Youth Mental Health Collection

Grades 6-12
This PBS LearningMedia collection is part of KET’s initiative on youth mental health and includes videos from the KET series, You Are Not Alone, which explores answers to depression, anxiety, toxic stress, and suicide through the lens of experts, educators, parents, and youth; video of focus groups of youth, parents/caregivers/mentors, and educators discussing youth mental health issues; a workshop by Operation Parent on what adults need to know about teens and social media; and video featuring personal experiences from youth and young adults on their experiences with mental illness and mental health issues.

Suicide Prevention: How Can Schools Help? | Above the Noise

Grades 6-12
No one wants to talk about it, but suicide is a leading cause of death among teens. The good news is, schools are uniquely positioned to help. Student reporters from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs investigate what schools can do.

Mental Health and Self-Care

Grades 9-12
In this video from First Person, psychotherapist Omar Torres discusses the benefits of therapy, the importance of self-care, and the implications of intersectionality on personal identity. Support materials include discussion questions, a printable Self-Care Guide from The Trevor Project, and a resource guide to help connect your students to mental health support. For more resources like this, see the rest of the Understanding LGBTQ+ Identity: A Toolkit for Educators PBS LearningMedia collection.


Self-Care Skills, Games & More

Let’s Share a Story: “Ruby Finds a Worry” | Let’s Learn

Grades PreK-2
Read Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival with Darlene Thomas. After reading, Darlene introduces strategies for recognizing, labeling and managing stress.

11 Simple Self-Care Habits for Kids

Grades PreK-3
Self-care isn’t selfish — it’s a basic need of being human! By teaching your child simple acts of self-care and including nurturing routines into your family life, you can show that taking care of ourselves, and each other, is important.

Practice Mindfulness With Belly Breathing

Grades PreK-4
During stressful or intense emotional moments, children may not have the coping skills to calm themselves. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a calming exercise that both children and parents can practice to relax and feel grounded, and one that children as young as three can practice.

Draw Your Feelings | Arthur Family Health

Grades K-5
Creative activities like drawing can help your child express and manage difficult emotions. Try this digital drawing game with your child alongside discussion prompts like “What makes you feel happy?,” “What makes you feel safe?,” or “What helps when you are worried?.” You may also want to share an experience from your own childhood to extend the activity.

Encouragement Jar

Grades 1-3
Daily encouragements help kids learn to support themselves when the going gets tough, as well as start the day off right! Your child can pull a card from their jar every morning or whenever she needs a boost.

Stressin’ Out! | Spot on Science

Grades 3-8
Stressing out over an upcoming test or a big game at school? Dr. Lisa Rameriz explains how stress can actually be a good thing and what to do when it turns toxic.


Local & State Mental Health Resources

Behavioral Health Services North

Behavioral Health Services North is a not-for-profit organization committed to bringing treatment, rehabilitation and support to families, individuals, and communities in a responsive and cost-effective way. BHSN supports Clinton, Franklin and Essex County communities through a variety of clinical and crisis services, and treatments for psychiatric and behavioral disorders. Their 24/7 Crisis Helpline, (866) 577-3836, is available at all times for those who are struggling with mental health, substance use, trauma, violence or other difficulties that affect their emotional well-being. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.

NAMI of Champlain Valley

NAMI-Champlain Valley is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. Located in Northern New York, NAMI-Champlain Valley provides free education, advocacy, and support services to all those affected (individuals and families) by brain disorders – including serious mental illnesses and/or emotional/behavioral disorders – in Clinton, Franklin, and Essex Counties. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.

Champlain Valley Family Center

Champlain Valley Family Center is a private, non-profit community-based organization dedicated to providing substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and related support programs to promote the well-being and quality of life for the residents of Clinton County, NY. Programs include those specifically aimed at family wellness and support. For more info, visit their website.

Clinton County Mental Health & Addiction Services Clinic

Clinton County Mental Health & Addiction Services is a mental health clinic providing a number of services for the community, including psychotherapy, medication, and consultation/evaluation. Programs are for people of all ages, from children to adults, with mental health, trauma, and/or addiction issues. You can learn more at their website, on the CCMHAS Facebook page, or by calling (518) 565-4060.

New York State Office of Mental Health

The mission of the New York State Office of Mental Health is to promote the mental health of all New Yorkers, with a particular focus on providing hope and recovery for adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbances. Serving over 700,000 people each year, OMH operates psychiatric centers across the State and maintains a county-by-county Community Services Directory, amongst other tools. They also have a NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline, (844) 863-9314, with specially trained volunteers. For more information on this state office and their services, go to the OMH website.


National Mental Health Resources

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call in to The Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, or access more suicide prevention and mental health crisis care resources on their website or Facebook page.

The Crisis Text Line

The Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 mental health support via text message. All you need to do is text HELLO to 741-741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor. The Crisis Counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message, using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform. You can also access the service through messaging on Facebook Chat.