Mental health and wellness virtual series aimed to help families navigate through the stresses of the pandemic

Mental health and wellness virtual series
Posted at 9:22 AM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 19:50:26-05

APPLETON (NBC 26) — Experts say the pandemic has shined a light on the importance of mental health and mental wellness, especially for students and families through an uncertain school year.

The transition to online learning didn't come easy for many families.

"That caused anxiety in itself,” said Kara Lendved, Sherwood.

For Lendved's seventh-grade daughter, it was especially tough to lose the help that comes inside the school.

"She struggles with mental health issues as it is. That just increased that for her to not have those resources anymore. To go to the counselor's office when she needed to,” Lendved said.

One of our biggest districts has found a way to help.

Appleton Schools, Prevent Suicide Fox Cities and Catalpa Health have partnered to bring people a mental health and wellness speaker series.

It's free and it's virtual.

"No student ever has to feel like they are alone. We care about them, we love them and we want to be a helpful community because they are our future,” said Cindy Reffke, Prevent Suicide Fox Cities.

A new presentation comes out every few weeks.

One of the speakers said it is important for parents to practice self-care, so that in turn they can better assist others.

"This is a weeble and those of you that may remember the saying as a kid is weebles wobble but don't fall down. Our goals as a result, because we all wobble, welcome to the human race folks we all wobble. Our goals for our children is so that they wobble but we hold our arms around them so that they built their own resiliency and they wobble, but don't fall down,” said Cindy Czarnik-Neimeyer, Catalpa Health/Appleton Schools ATODA & Mental Health Liaison.

At the end of the day other experts say as students and families are continuously going through life changes, they just want them to know there is help.

Parents, educators, health experts all fighting for one cause the mental health and wellness of children.

One session highlighted some of the challenges both kids and adults are going through and some ways to help cope with those things.

“In our households and in our relationships and our communications with others. Teenagers and kids are often the thermometer and we really want to be as adults, the thermostat,” said Amy Gunderson, a mental health therapist with Catalpa Health.

She goes on to say that sometimes as parents and adults there’s often times the responsibility aspect puts pressure on children.

“Very often a child will get upset or escalated and they might climb up the thermometer and we join them. Our voices raised, we get so frustrated, we start bargaining with them to get them to start doing their work,” Gunderson said.

She said now more than ever people have to be more intentional with one another.

Below are dates and details for the upcoming sessions.

March 8: "What does self-care really mean?” by Jeanette Potts, Master of Science degree in Leadership from Marian University and an “accredited Certification in Thanatology” by the Association of Death Education and Counseling

March 22: “How to enjoy a Wisconsin winter outside” by Chelsey Lewis, a travel and outdoors reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

For more information on how to watch those videos, click here to be directed there.