COVID-19, FEATURE — April 9, 2020 at 12:17 am

Mental health resources provided for you at home

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Graphic by Brianna Jesionowski

At times it can be very difficult to adjust to change, often creating feelings of confusion and stress. Nearly one in five people in the United States suffer from mental health issues and with the coronavirus spreading, these conditions are becoming worrisome for individuals. However, resources are now available to those in need. 

“Although it is very unfortunate that the virus has taken away many things, we are doing our best to offer support and recreate the connection we had here at Eagles Haven. We have added new classes like baking, exercising, drawing, color and sound therapy, and many support groups like stress management and mind-body skills,” Program Director at Eagles Haven, Rebecca Martin said. “Something we would do frequently at Eagles Haven is bagels and company, where people would drop in and have a bagel with us but now they can drop in and have breakfast with us online. We want to offer the same activities we had before so everyone can still feel welcomed and drop in whenever.”

Many resources, such as Eagles Haven are still providing care and support to everyone in need despite the current quarantine. Eagles Haven is a wellness center for the Parkland community that provides many activities like pet experiences, boot camp, yoga, cooking and healthy eating, poetry, open mic and many more to enable civilians to feel welcomed and come together to manage their pain. They are now hosting live yoga classes on Mondays for teachers and on Tuesdays for teenagers, along with many other live classes like kickboxing, meditation, drawing, Zumba and pilates which are being offered to everyone. A Mind-Body Medicine group is also included, where they practice meditation, as well as give out support and lessons for self-care. 

“I really enjoyed going to Eagles Haven, it felt like a welcoming place where I felt comfort and support. I loved it when we would make tie-dye shirts and different activities like drawing and support groups, it makes me even happier to know that we can still receive help virtually,” senior Olivia Feldman said. “I know many people feel stress and anxiety so knowing that wellness is still being spread gives me hope.”

In addition to the resources that Eagles Haven is offering, Broward County Public Schools are providing live and pre-recorded sessions with mental health care professionals. Starting Wednesday, April 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. up to 250 participants can join in on these live lessons, with many different guests and they can find these on the Microsoft application, Teams. Scott May, a mindfulness instructor, will be providing information on dealing with emotions for teens and adults. Following that, from the World Happiness Summit, Maria Sirois and Robert Biswas-Diener will discuss what impacts stress has on one’s mental and emotional states and finding ways to develop resiliency for adults. 

Due to the impact of change in the community, Superintendent Robert Runcie has created an online resource for students, teachers, staff and families called Mindfulness in BCPS with new information, live sessions, daily activities and more. 

“Despite our current situation of increased insolation, these mindfulness practices allow us to get even more connected, connected with ourselves, connected with our loved ones and hopefully connected to activities that we enjoy but typically don’t make enough time for,” Runcie said in a video message. “This is the time to invest in our health and well being.” 

A pre-recorded session with Diane Wolk-Rogers and Ellen Fox-Snider, the sponsors of the Mind-Body Medicine Club at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, shows them doing exercises from The Center of Mind-Body Medicine, such as journaling and using dialogue to describe your emotions for teens and adults. A video series that was pre-recorded with Knellee Bisram, founder and CEO of AHAM Education Inc. provides guided mindfulness and practices from The Center of Mind-Body Medicine released at 3 p.m. Another session with Bisram focusing on self-compassion and dealing with emotions for parents and teachers to help with real-life situations.

Mental health and wellness are present in our daily lives and can affect the way we think, act and feel. It is encouraged to seek support, with many resources still wanting to provide positive services to students, teachers, families, and anyone who wants to join and encourages them to try these activities at home. Their goal is to raise awareness of mental health issues for the community. 

For current updates regarding the mindfulness activities planned by BCPS, see the schedule.

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Anayiris Guzman is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She is involved in many clubs at school, like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Peer Counseling.

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