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Families dealing with mental health and the holidays

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 9:32 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The pandemic has caused many families in Bay County to fall on difficult times, and now the holiday season is here.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of families that are struggling,” said Executive Director for Healthy Start Sharon Trainor. “Whether it’s financially that leads to stress that leads to mental health.”

“Holidays are stressful. We a lot of times have expectations for ourselves and for our family members,” said Supervisor of Student Wellness Programs for Bay District Schools Dana Tutunick.

If a parent is struggling, officials say children tend to pick up on that. Bay District Schools has been working to provide mental health resources for students.

“We’re able to get interventions in early and do a lot of preventative measures, which was the goal from the beginning,” said Tutunick. “Just being able to support the students and give them the help they need.”

Parents leading by example during tough times can be beneficial for kids.

“Reach out, don’t try to go at it alone, don’t try to be a super hero for your kids,” said Trainor.

Officials say they have a few tips for dealing with a mental health crisis during the holidays.

“Deep breathing activities and mindfulness activities are the best options for reducing stress,” said Tutunick. “But reaching out and not being afraid to talk about it is probably the best step you can do.”

Officials say parents can incorporate these practices into children’s everyday lives.

“As a parent, you trust your gut,” said Tutunick. “You know your child better than anyone else. Help them problem solve, work with them on relaxation and mindfulness and things of that nature.”

Officials encourage adults and children to reach out to the organizations below for help if they struggle during the holidays:

Life Management Center of Northwest Florida : (850) 522-4485

Bay District Schools Student Wellness Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/Bay-District-Schools-Student-Wellness-102683831394158

National Suicide Prevention Hotline : 1-800-273-8255

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