Mental Health Blog and Resources

Amanda Walters (licensed clinical professional counselor) and Kim Baldwin (licensed clinical psychologist and marriage & family therapist) have been working together to provide us with some tips for how to keep you, your family, and friends mentally healthy. Please check in for regular updates about different topics.

 

If you have a particular topic you would like to see them talk about, please use this form to share your idea.

 

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please call Emergency Services at 9-1-1 or PATH Crisis at 2-1-1.

Additional (Non-Emergency) Rescources available in Bloomington/Normal can be found by following this link.

Mental Health Tips for Kids

Many of us have children in our homes or in our lives who are living right alongside of us in the uncertainties of COVID and other life events that are happening in our nation and in the world. Jesus demonstrated his heart for children when he invited the children to come to him even when others were actively trying to not pay attention to them (Matthew 19:14). As we aim to care for our children, here are some tips that may be helpful:

  1. Create a sense of safety and belonging. Children thrive best when they are in environments that tell them (with words and actions) that they are safe and they are loved no matter what. When stress is running high, it is easier to lose our temper, act unpredictably, or even do or say things that we never thought we would do or say. Rather than trying to hide things that are going wrong in your home, reach out for help and support. Your children are worth it.
     

  2. Maintain routines as much as possible. A major stressor for children is too much change. Making as much of life predictable as possible, especially when there is so much unpredictability in our surroundings, is important.
     

  3. Encourage a resilient outlook. It can be comforting to be able to share worries and concerns. Be sure to balance that with a perspective that we will get through this together.
     

  4. Good physical health supports good mental health. Our previous mental health news has covered getting out and being active, as well as deep breathing. Help your children incorporate some of these activities. Deep breathing for kids can be as fun and easy as blowing bubbles (You have to breathe out nice and slow to get a good large bubble!). And it may even help both of you to laugh. Don’t forget to eat healthy and get enough sleep!
     

  5. Respond to warning signs. These signs may indicate that something more serious is going on with your child and you may want to seek out professional help:

    1. School performance goes down significantly.

    2. Ongoing worry and anxiety

    3. Refusal to take part in their usual activities

    4. Trouble sleeping or persistent nightmares

    5. Increased/frequent temper tantrums

    6. Aggression, ongoing sadness, irritability
       

  6. Make time for connection. Children need playmates. That can include their parents, their siblings, or others who are part of your “safe bubble” of contacts. Be intentional in providing play time and space. This includes monitoring and limiting screen time. Be deliberate in providing your children activities and resources for crafts, creation, and connection.

NPR came up with a little booklet that you and your child can make together. Print off this page and go to this website for cutting and folding instructions:  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixqr9e3wCxI

Create the book and take time to read it together!

Previous Blog Entries

Move Your Body

Deep Breathing

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