Free Social and Emotional Wellness Screenings

We’re nearly one full lap around the calendar since the start of the pandemic, and with vaccinations picking up and case counts falling, the finish line is in sight.

We all look forward to this marathon of a sprint being over. But, as any long-distance athlete can attest, when the intensity and endorphins fade, what’s left are the emotions from the trauma and stress you’ve endured.

“We’ve been on this natural high, and now we’re having to process our thoughts and feelings. In these types of experiences, it’s not uncommon to feel a little let down, lost, and even anxious or depressed,” explains Genny Poll, a social and emotional specialist at Canyons District. “And while this can be a little overwhelming, our schools have trained experts and resources to help.”

In the coming weeks, to help our school communities cope with pandemic fatigue and the prospects of a post-pandemic slump, CSD’s licensed counselors are sponsoring free in-person and virtual wellness screenings and consultations for students, ages 10-18. The meetings are for 30 minutes and scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. by appointment only.

Space is limited, and interested participants are asked to register for each event separately (see registration links below). Upon registering, families will be asked to complete a screening tool. During the consultations, licensed professionals will discuss available community resources to meet individual student needs.

Mental Health Screening Nights, 4 – 8 p.m.

Any traumatic event is bound to have behavioral consequences. But the pandemic has checked an alarming share of the boxes of known risk factors for anxiety and depression: Illness, social isolation, the disruption of familiar routines, economic uncertainty, and the loss of loved ones.

Last June, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse, according to monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children, too, have shown signs of stress tied to periods of the pandemic when lockdowns and other social restrictions were at their peak. 

“This is one of the reasons our schools have worked hard this year to preserve in-person instruction and keep sports and other activities going,” Poll said. “Children, especially teenagers, are very peer-oriented, and it’s important to keep them connected to school and their friends.”

People will respond in different ways to trauma, but it’s important to understand they are all normal reactions to stress, Poll said. However you respond, go easy on yourself. Give yourself permission to cry, get angry, or take time to exercise, read a book, or call someone you trust. Do whatever you need to take care of yourself and the ones you love.

Children are resilient, but Poll recommends seeking professional help if your child is having trouble performing regular tasks, isolating from the family, sinking into a depression, or feeling suicidal.

When in doubt, reach out to a counselor to talk through possible solutions, or register for one of CSD’s free screenings.

Here are more helpful resources:

Confidential SafeUT Tipline: The SafeUT mobile app and tipline allows anyone to anonymously report acts of bullying and threatened violence, or to seek help for emotional crises, suicidal threats and addiction problems. Download it here: https://healthcare.utah.edu/hmhi/safe-ut/

Wellness Resources: CSD’s Parent Connections Portal

Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK.

Warm Line: 801-587-1055 (for callers not in crisis, but seeking support, engagement and encouragement seven days a week between 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.).

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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