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 According to Mental

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Learn more about specific mental health problems and where to find help.

Mental Health and Wellness

Positive mental health allows people to:

  • Realize their full potential
  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their communities

Ways to maintain positive mental health include:                                                                                            

  • Getting professional help if you need it
  • Connecting with others                                                                                                                                      
  • Staying positive
  • Getting physically active
  • Helping others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Developing coping skills   


 Mental Health Matters  



     National Suicide Prevention Lifeline                                National Coalition Against Domestic Violence                  



  National Domestic Violence Hotline                                  Disaster Distress: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Online



   Florida Abuse Hotline                                                    Report Abuse Online                                                    


Need Help? Know Someone Who Does?  

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat now.

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 or chat now.

Call the Florida Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873, Florida Relay 711 or TTY 1-800-955-8771. Or report abuse online.

Contact the Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517)

If you or someone you care about is feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, call 911





Things you can do to support your child

Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.

Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset, confused or even angry about the disruption to their normal life. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.

Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.

Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well.

Connect with your friends and family members.

Learn more about helping children cope.




Things you can do to support yourself

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Many people are using video chats to feel connected to their friends and loved ones and report that it is helpful to relieve anxiety and  stress.

Learn more about taking care of your emotional health.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.



Webinar: COVID-19 Mental Health Tips for Children and Families


Webinar: Mental Health for Remote Workers - Supporting Employees and One Another     



Helpful websites

Florida Department of Education (FDOE) -

America School Counseling Association (ASCA) -

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) -

School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) -

National Association of School Nurses (NASN) -

Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network (MHTTC) -

Victim Connect Resource Center -

National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline -


Helpful videos

     Coping with Covid-19 through Connections (YouTube videos)


Helpful Apps

This app, which is based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy, was created to help people struggling with depression. It can also help those who are dealing with anxiety, stress, anger, and other issues, as it helps to identify thought patterns that lead to negative feelings and offers up alternate ways of thinking during tough times.

It offers features like relaxing breathing techniques, a journal to keep track of thoughts and moods, guided exercises to help you feel grounded, and other inspirational materials.

Cost: Free, but offers in-app purchases

MindShift is a mental health app designed specifically for teens and young adults with anxiety. Rather than trying to avoid anxious feelings, Mind Shift stresses the importance of changing how you think about anxiety. Think of this app as the cheerleader in your pocket, encouraging you to take charge of your life, ride out intense emotions, and face challenging situations. (Free; iOS and Android)


Happify!  Need a happy fix? With its psychologist-approved mood-training program, the Happify app is your fast-track to a good mood. Try various engaging games, activity suggestions, gratitude prompts and more to train your brain as if it were a muscle, to overcome negative thoughts. The best part? Its free! (Free; iOS and Android)






Five Star Life is releasing our Social and Emotional Learning video curriculum to students, parents, and educators to access online for FREE. During this time of uncertainty, students and parents need hope and support. Our video lessons will help students overcome fear and anxiety, as well as, help them adjust to a new routine of completing school work at home. Here are some of the topics covered to help students adapt and adjust:

  •  Dealing with change
  •  Coping with stress and anxiety
  •  Managing conflict
  •  Strategies for time management
  •  Goal-setting
  • Navigating friendships and social life

Students and parents can subscribe to our Five Star Life YouTube Channel for daily content, including live streams and two SEL video lessons per week.

Don’t forget about the downloadable journal reflection notes to help process the video lesson. Click here to receive notes and COVID-19 curriculum updates.

Follow us on social media (@thefivestarlife) for updates and join us for weekly LIVE STREAMS WITH COACH SETH & COACH MORGAN.

Hit us up on social media or click here to submit questions for Coach Seth and Coach Morgan.

Questions will be answered during the live streams.  

Learn more about 5-Star Life Social and Emotional Learning Video Curriculum.


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Tips for Families in Supporting Their Children with Disabilities in Virtual Formats




First, remember that your role is a parental one. Your child needs family.


      Teachers are still teaching, just in a virtual format, and with a different schedule. It can be confusing for students if families try to assume the role of teacher.

      Explain to your child that their teacher is still their teacher, and that you are in communication with the teacher to help them learn at home. While you may feel more pressure with your child at home, try to think of it as a different way of helping your child with learning.


Set up a comfortable space in your home for learning. While school closure for COVID-19 is temporary situation, it is likely that it may be extended as needed to keep people safe.


      Choose a non-distracting space in your home to set up a learning space. Some students need a quiet area in their room, while others need oversight and frequent assistance.

      Remember that it is not necessary for your child to sit at a table in order to learn. Pillows, a floor space, lying on the couch, or even a yoga ball might provide additional comfort for your child while learning. Students with sensory needs can be supported in this way.

      Think about what your child will need in order to learn and plan around those needs. Once

you have a space, gather supplies such as notebooks, pencils, calculators, or any type of supportive or assistive devices your child needs, and make sure they are nearby.


Establish a schedule. Schedules are important for you and for your child, especially if you are also working from home. Set clear expectations and goals with your child.


      Keep bedtime and daily routines intact, and work with your family to establish a daily schedule for learning at home. For some students that might mean following their classroom schedule as closely as possible, especially if their class is meeting virtually through video.

      Some schedules and goals may need to be visual. Ask your child’s teacher for the class’s schedule, post it, and stick to it as closely as you can. Some students will need support, such as social stories, to make even minor adjustments to the schedule, so be patient and as

consistent as you can. Post clear goals that you and your child have agreed to.

      You may need a daily chart, so that your child can check off each item as they complete it.

Cutting apart the schedule, writing or snapping a picture of the start and end times for each section, and taping up one item at a time next to the clock may also help your child visualize the day and the progress toward his or her goals.


Allow breaks and time for recess. Most children dont have long attention spans, and this can be even more likely for students with disabilities. Many students individual education plans (IEPs) include accommodations for frequent breaks, and this will apply to home

learning as well.


      Breaks are good times to allow your child access to their preferred activities or to have snacks.

      Recess is also extremely important, even though it may look a little different at home. If your child cannot play outside, you can use exercise programs for video game consoles, or access video channels from YouTube or If your child receives physical or occupational therapy, you can use their therapist’s suggestions for at-home exercises.

      It is a good idea to use a timer to indicate the end of a break. If your child needs a visual timer,

you can download one here:


Find information on inclusion and contact local facilitators at:

Limit distractions. Siblings, gaming devices, tablets, television shows, or other distractions are likely to take your childs attention away from schoolwork.


      Try to limit distractors to scheduled break times. Set a timer to signal the end of a break.

    Try playing music with 50-80 beats per minute in the background, such as classical music, nature sounds, or video game music (without the visuals, of course). Music has been found to have a positive impact on productivity and concentration. You might find that music helps you focus more and be productive, too!


Allow socialization. Even if playdates are not recommended, you should find ways for your child to interact with family, friends and classmates.


      Allow video chats or FaceTime. You may have to work with other families to set this up, depending on your child’s age or ability to do this independently. Even for teens, sometimes texting or social media just isn’t enough.

      In addition, reserve or schedule some time for your immediate and extended family to interact

and bond, even if it is virtually.


Provide time away from screens. Eye strain, screen glare, and not moving cause fatigue.


      Using virtual learning platforms should include off-screen time with books, drawing, writing, and other mediums of learning. Your child may need to have pages printed out, or have a hard copy of textbooks, in order to use removable highlighter tape or reading guide strips, as needed.

      Reinforce the lesson content through activities and hands-on experiences at home. Students with disabilities will benefit from making these connections.


Find or create support networks. You are not alone. Everyone is experiencing this, so reaching out can provide you with new resources, ideas, or just plain comfort.


      Your child’s teacher(s), related service providers, therapists, and other professionals are still available to you to provide what is needed to help your child learn, even if it looks different from what they usually do. They are working hard to be creative with ways to provide services to students with disabilities in a virtual format.

      Other families are also experiencing the same challenges. If you do not have access to a

family virtual group, request that one be created so that you can connect with others to share experiences and solutions.


Ask for help. While we are practicing physical distancing and families and teachers are doing their best to continue education, many agencies and organizations are temporarily

suspending fees for their online resources so that there are plenty of resources.


      School and district websites, organizations for students with disabilities, and social media have provided increased access to websites and programs to support learning for students with and without disabilities. Too many resources can also be overwhelming, so select just one or two, and see how it goes.

      Resources will also be shared by your child’s teacher(s) and support providers. If you need

suggestions, or something isn’t going well, don’t hesitate to reach out.


Be patient - with your child, with the system, with teachers, and with yourself. This is an unusual time, and nobody is perfect. There will be meltdowns, technology challenges, and unanswered questions. But tomorrow is a new day, so stay positive, healthy and focused.