Jenny’s Corner with DWS School Counselor

Thanks for visiting this mental health resource offered by DWS School Counselor Jenny Thompson, MA, LPC. In need of her support services? Reach out to her via email, and bookmark this page for helpful tips and announcements.

Drug and Alcohol Parent Education Evening with Colt Smith

I was joined by award-winning speaker Colt Smith for an invaluable presentation on the effects of drugs and alcohol on students. Watch the recording to hear his powerful story and garner insights and tips for parents and students, alike. Colt was also tremendously well received by our high school students during an in-school presentation as a recovering addict who brings compassion, empathy, and a breadth of knowledge. Learn more about him on his website Colt’s Drug Talks.

Resources

  • Enthusiastic Sobriety—Support group
  • Natural Highs—Amazing social group that provides peer mentoring, sober events, and reiki classes, and also teaches kids how to give the brain chemistry talks
  • Fire Mountain—Stellar residential treatment center in Estes Park for teens
  • Sandstone Care—Residential and outpatient treatment for teens and young adults. If a family member is wondering what to do, call Sandstone. Its admissions and outreach team does a GREAT job of referring out and finding what fits best for your teen
  • iTHRIVE—Early intervention for teens that are just beginning a relationship with substances; a great resource that requires parent participation
  • S.AF.E.—Sober AF Entertainment is a social group that has lots of sober events, concerts, sports, etc.
  • Nicholas Thompson—Private practice therapist who rocks, and also has a podcast called Perspective 4 Parents that’s worth a listen

Random Acts of Kindness Week

During Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 14-20), I encourage all of us to consider what we can do to bring kindness to one another. One idea is to write a positive quality about each of your family members and share this with each other, maybe at dinner time. Another idea is to send someone you care about a card of appreciation (for adults and children, alike). Together, go through your children’s toys/clothes/books that are no longer being used and donate to an organization of your child’s choosing.  The list goes on!

The takeaway: Kind acts not only help others they actually boost our and our child’s self esteem and introduce how purposeful we can be at at any age.

Podcast: Happiness Lab

Self compassion. If there were ever time we (adults and children, alike) needed to practice this, it is now. Kristin Neff joins Dr. Laurie Santos on the Happiness Lab, and goes through why it is so important to be compassionate with ourselves and to “dump our inner drill sergeant.” Neff describes self compassion as extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.  It’s worth a listen.

Mental Health Tips

The first DWS Parent Council meeting of the year included a presentation titled Minding Mental Health through Covid-19. Watch the recording and read the tips I covered below.

Tips for Parents

Here are some things we can do to help take care of ourselves

  1. Prioritize rest. Whatever that looks like for you (yin yoga, napping, sitting on the couch with our eyes closed, etc.).
  2. Again, realize the goal is to accomplish something not to be perfect.
  3. Give yourselves a break from all media. Give it up for 3 days or even 1 day and see if there is a difference in how you feel.
  4. Work on being gentle with yourself, try letting go or giving the self critic a day off. This also has an effect on how gentle we are with those around us.
  5. Pay attention to pacing. Everyone absorbs information and change at a different pace. Recognizing this can give us patience and challenge our expectations of others.

Tips for Students

Here are some mental health tips on what we as parents can do to help our children persevere through this ongoing time of pandemic and political unrest.

  1. Give your children hope. This to shall pass, there will be a vaccine and school will be back in full swing and some sort of normalcy will happen sometime in 2021. In turn, validate how they are feeling now and move onto a hopeful stance.
  2. Remind kids that we are being called on to be patient.
  3. Try to live in the present. This can be especially hard with anxious children but try to focus on today and if they start to veer off into the distant future, do your best to let them know that today is what we need to focus on and again to instill a more hopeful outlook. You can also start a gratitude practice with your children, maybe before you eat dinner or breakfast have everyone share something they are thankful for.
  4. Create a floating plan of the future. Ask what your child is looking forward to in the future and put them on a to-do board.
  5. Pay attention to and create small joys and activities for your child. Maybe baking once a week a sugary treat or bread, or facetime with a friend or relative
  6. Remind your child of how resilient they are. Point out to them that even though it hasn’t been easy they have survived some pretty big shifts in what is normal at home, school, with friends and neighbors. Remind them that they have proven they can do hard things
  7. Be aware of comparing your child to other children – everybody copes differently, we can help our children learn how to cope with their own unique perspectives and responses to stressful situations.
  8. Meditate with your child. Meditation, especially with anxious children can start pathways in the brain to not get caught up in every single thought we have (we have around 60,000 per day!). Meditation can help you and your child with accepting their emotions and can help with patience, which is greatly called upon now.

Mental Health Resources

Therapy Resources

I recommend the following therapists:

  • By Light Counseling—Natalia Samman, LCSW; (720) 295-2553
  • Blue Spruce Psychology LLC—Courtney Gallagher, PsyD; (720) 336-1477
  • Center for Child and Family Psychology—(303) 871-3306; Sliding scale
  • Amy Pickett-Williams—(303) 912-9806

Robbie’s Hope

Robbie’s Hope is geared toward helping teens with mental wellbeing, offering a vast number of resources, ideas and groups surrounding mental health. Please take some time to look over the website and share with anyone you think would be interested.

Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

I wanted to remind our community that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may be intensified this year because of the pandemic and our political climate. SAD is a type of depression linked to the seasons and a reduction in the amount of light one receives throughout the day. It starts in the Fall and wanes in Spring. It zaps our energy and makes us feel more moody. SAD can affect any age group but most frequently starts between 18-30 years of age. Linked here and here are two articles, with the first geared towards adults and the second for the younger population.

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