Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and thankfully as a society, we have started to speak more openly about how it impacts all of us. Yes, we ALL have mental health. We have taken a very front seat approach to how we talk and deal with our mental health in our home. It took the pandemic to realize we needed support as family and individually when all of us felt isolated, sad, cooped up, scared, lost, and a slew of other emotions.

As a family, we started to see a therapist. Getting help is a good thing, and we are so grateful to have this option! I let my daughter know that just like we go to the grocery store to get a missing ingredient, seeing a therapist is no different.

The work needs to continue, even more so now. Data is coming out about how kids are behind in SEL (social, emotional, learning) from the pandemic. If you think about it, by the time my daughter went to 1st grade, she had never been inside a school or a noisy cafeteria. Let alone mixing with children much older. Take my daughter and multiply that by hundreds of students in my daughter’s elementary school who are feeling all the feelings.

The first step is talking to our kids about their emotions and validating how they feel. You can be experiencing the same situation as your little one, and you feel excited, and your child is terrified. Remember Santa pictures?

Offering encouragement and being patient is key. My daughter is not a risk-taker, and she is a little slower to dive into new things. I let her take her time and offer help and encouragement, regardless of the outcome, such as "that was so brave to jump into the water" or "that it was so courageous of you to know you were not ready to swim today."

Let’s start by asking our kids how they feel and prioritizing mental health.