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Mental Health Awareness

May is mental health awareness month. Mental health is becoming something people talk about on more of a regular basis but still has a stigma associated with it. A key indicator for mental health struggles is experiencing trauma. Most if not all of the families we work with have experienced trauma and most likely complex trauma, which is trauma in many layers. We have caregivers who have experienced trauma and children who have or are currently experiencing trauma. While this is heartbreaking in so many ways, there is an opportunity to make an impact today on the children we are caring for as well as on our caregivers. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has some great information on how complex trauma can affect us and our children.

You are not alone and the weight of dealing with the kin child’s trauma can seem unbearable. As humans going through hard things, we find ways to cope, ways to survive and ways to get by. In many of those instances, those ways of coping aren’t necessarily good for us. Learning to take care of ourselves and teach children to have positive mental health practices can be difficult but possible. Making time for self reflection and checking in with emotions daily, being active such as going for a walk or riding a bike together, and prioritizing yourself is a step in the right direction. As your kin child sees you take care of yourself, they will start to develop those habits as well. As a survivor of childhood trauma once shared, It’s the simple self care habits that many people who’ve experienced trauma never develop. Such as going to a doctor or seeing a therapist are taboo ideas. When you are focused on surviving you don’t have time to focus on eating vegetables, walking in the sunlight, and even deep breathing. These are the habits that will actually help us survive. If you are struggling with taking care of you and your mental health, please reach out to a kinship navigator and they can get you connected to the resources available for you. Together we can make an impact on your mental health as well as the mental health of the children you are caring for.
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