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Mental Health Matters: March 27

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

Hello Ellis Families,

I sincerely hope you are each doing well; however, I also acknowledge this is a stressful time. Whether it is the loss of childcare, uncertainty about finances, or generally feeling overwhelmed, this is a unique transition we weren’t expecting. That is why during this time it is so critical for us to take care of one another the best we can and to also take care of ourselves. This includes taking care of our mental health.

Please complete the family survey if you haven’t yet and please leave your contact information if you would like additional outreach. We are eager to best understand your needs at this time so we can be helpful.

I’m very happy to share our first Mental Health Matters weekly newsletter that will include mental health resources to support children and adults during our temporary closure. This week I am sharing a wonderful article that helps us begin to give language to what we are experiencing as well as a breathing technique you can do on your own or with your child. We hope it’s useful.

Thank you and be well,

Jenn Apps

Ellis Social Worker


Harvard Business Review article: The Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief

“There is something powerful about naming this as grief. It helps us feel what’s inside of us. So many have told me in the past week, “I’m telling my coworkers I’m having a hard time,” or “I cried last night.” When you name it, you feel it and it moves through you. Emotions need motion. It’s important we acknowledge what we go through.”

Breathing Techniques

Belly breathing is an activity you can practice with your child or on your own. Benefits of belly breathing include improving expressive communication, attention span and increasing the supply of oxygen to the entire body.  It relaxes the central nervous system while increasing energy levels. It’s never too early for your children to become more aware of how their body feels when they are ‘quiet’ for a while. When your child is relaxed, perhaps encourage them to reflect on their day. What have they done or what would they like to do? What are they grateful for? These are questions you can reflect on as well.

Talking to Your Child About COVID-19:

In this piece, author Tara Haelle ‘keeps it real’ about her own experience while relaying relevant information. She speaks with Dr. Neha Chaudhary, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at MGH and Harvard Medical School and cofounder of Brainstorm. There are also some great resources at the end of the article for our younger and older friends.

Enjoy this short video (less than two minutes!) that can help even our youngest friends begin to understand social distancing.

Hot Playdough Tip

In our Ellis From Home email on Sunday we included a recipe for playdough. If you have essential oils, add a few drops to your playdough and SHAZAM, you now have therapeutic playdough! Scents like lavender or jasmine promote feelings of stress relief.

Mental Health and Parent Support

Parental Stress Line: 800-632-8188

  • Parental stress line counselors are there to listen to your concerns and problem-solve with you. 24/7, free and confidential.

Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST Team): 800-981-4357

  • A mental health emergency hotline to do crisis evaluation and treatment if you feel your child has become a danger to themselves or others in the home

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