The Azusa Unified School District is committed to promoting student wellness to help all students achieve academic, social-emotional, and behavioral success.
Student mental health wellness is supported by AUSD through a variety of services ranging from school wellness campaigns to more intensive and individualized support programs. We also work closely with partners and community service agencies for additional service considerations to best support our students and families.
In a time of physical distancing, we want to reassure the students and families in our district that we care about the mental health and wellbeing of our school community.
This website contains well-being and mental health resources for students, families, and staff. If you need assistance, please call 626-858-6168
In the midst of widespread uncertainty and as we embark on a whole new way of engaging with each other (at home, at work, and virtually) there is no better time to sift through all of the chaos and unknowns to identify what we can be thankful for. Gratitude is more than just saying “thank you” to someone who has been helpful, in fact, researchers consider it a “life orientation” where feelings of gratitude stem from noticing and appreciating the positive things in life (Wood et al., 2010). This mindset of gratitude can be especially helpful during periods of stress and transition (very much like what we’re experiencing now!).
People who regularly practice gratitude experience more:
- positive emotions,
- feel more alive,
- sleep better,
- express more compassion and kindness, and
- even have stronger immune systems
The Importance of Self Care
During this time of uncertainty and fear, many of you are stepping up to help kids, parents and others. As you busily help others, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself.
Mindfulness simply means paying attention to the present moment with kindness and curiosity and without judgment. It’s intentionally drawing your awareness to thoughts, feelings, or sensations happening from moment to moment. Although some religions incorporate mindfulness, it’s not tied to religion. Mindfulness is a natural state of consciousness, and the intentional practice of mindfulness can train attention. Research examining mindfulness-based approaches in education has found:
- Improvements in student attention
- Improvements in student social-emotional skills (perspective-taking and empathy)
- Increases in prosocial behavior (sharing and including others)
- Decreases in aggression and symptoms of depression
One easy way for children to dip their toes into mindfulness is through body poses. To get your kids excited, tell them that doing fun poses can help them feel strong, brave, and happy.
Have the kids go somewhere quiet and familiar, a place they feel safe. Next, tell them to try one of the following poses:
- The Superman: this pose is practiced by standing with the feet just wider than the hips, fists clenched, and arms reached out to the sky, stretching the body as tall as possible.
- The Wonder Woman: this pose is struck by standing tall with legs wider than hip-width apart and hands or fists placed on the hips (Karen Young, 2017).
While on the subject of superheroes, this can be a related “next step” to teach kids how to stay present.
Instruct your kids to turn-on their “Spidey senses,” or the super-focused senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch that Spiderman uses to keep tabs on the world around him. This will encourage them to pause and focus their attention on the present, opening their awareness to the information their senses bring in (Karen Young, 2017).
This is a classic mindfulness exercise and encourages observation and curiosity—great skills for any human to practice.
The Safari exercise is a great way to help kids learn mindfulness. This activity turns an average, everyday walk into an exciting new adventure.
Tell your kids that you will be going on a safari: their goal is to notice as many birds, bugs, creepy-crawlies, and any other animals as they can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is of interest, and they’ll need to focus all of their senses to find them, especially the little ones (Karen Young, 2017).
A similar exercise for adults is the mindfulness walk. This exercise provokes the same response in children that a mindful walk elicits in adults: a state of awareness and grounding in the present.
Positive Thinking ( https://www.pricelessparenting.com/chart-for-kids)
Practice positive thinking each day for two minutes. Choose two phrases from below or make up your own. Breathe in silently saying one phrase; breathe out saying a different one.
- I am good.
- I am kind.
- I am enough.
- I am smart.
- I am important.
- I am worthy.
- I learn from my challenges. I am gentle with myself.
- I am creative.
- I am loved.
Mental Health Resources
Flexibility in the Midst of Crisis
Flexibility is to have the ability to shift perspectives and actions when new or unexpected events arise. This allows us to adapt more easily to difficult situations.
Managing Anxiety Around COVID-19
Having anxiety around COVID-19 is normal. Here are some tips to help manage those feelings.
- Start with yourself. Make sure you are okay—that you are calm enough to validate, reassure, and support others. Practice self-care.
- Be aware of your own emotions and accept how you feel
- Focus on the facts. Consult reliable and up-to-date sources
- Control the amount of information you take in
- Respect others’ decisions but know what’s right for you
- Support others who are dealing with anxiety and uncertainty
Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
Know your behavioral signs of stress and how you can effectively relieve stress.
Talking to Children about COVID-19
Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events
- Remain calm and reassuring
- Make yourself available
- Avoid excessive blaming
- Monitor television and social media viewing
- Maintain a normal routine to the extent possible
- Be honest and accurate
- Take Time to Talk
Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus
COVID-19 facts and comic book making activity for kids
The Ultimate kids’ guide to COVID-19
Kid friendly guide to explaining how we got here and what we are doing to help mitigate spread.
My Emotional Safety Plan
Modeling appropriate emotional management can develop and reinforce appropriate emotional responses during this time of uncertainty.
Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Understanding the somatic responses to trauma, anxiety, stress and building resilience
Coping with Fatigue, Fear and Panic During a Crisis by Tony Schwartz and Emily Pines
We are dealing with two contagions — the virus itself and the emotions it generates. Negative emotions are every bit as contagious as the virus, and they’re also toxic. Fatigue, fear, and panic undermine our ability to think clearly and creatively, manage our relationships effectively, focus attention on the right priorities, and make smart, informed choices.