NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – The pandemic has put real pressure on our mental health, especially for children. A program in Middle Tennessee hopes to make conversations about mental health easier.
Program coordinator Ashley Nunnally says her ETSY program aims to alleviate the stigma surrounding mental health.
Free presentations are offered through the Mental Health America of the MidSouth organization.
ETSY means “Erase The Stigma Through Youth.”
“Teaching them about their emotional well-being, their mental health and comparing mental health and illness to recognizing mental health is something everyone has,” Nunnally said.
The program is available for children from pre-school to 12th grade, with different presentations depending on the age group.
“For younger children we talk about anger management, bullying, worry, identifying feelings, and coping skills,” Nunnally said, “but older children, ages 6-12, talk about erasing stigma. surrounding mental illness, harassment, eating disorders, have different mental illnesses, risk behaviors, depression, stress and anxiety by text ”.
Nunnally says we need to normalize talking about our mental health and discussing tools for dealing with stress in a healthy way.
“I have kids and it’s important to recognize how they feel and know it’s okay, even if you don’t feel good,” Nunnally said, “like listening to music, walking, and drawing.”
The program is free and can be done virtually or in person.
“We also help them identify what we call trusted adults, who they are. If in doubt, you can invite your pediatrician or counselor, for example, to this conversation to connect with resources,” Nunnally said, “for to younger children “. , we use our pet “IC Hope” is a duck and has a bandage and a life jacket on it, so the children identify different things and we like to remind them that the bandage serves to remind them that mental health is real and it can be treated and the preservative life reminds us that every life is valuable and worth saving. “
This program is not just for parents, but for teachers and camp directors, basically for anyone who works with children.
To sign up for the program, you can email Nunnally at email@example.com for more information or to visit the MHA MidSouth Facebook page.