Mental Health matters

Click here to view SMMUSD's Mental Health Services page for their full information available. A list of low-fee therapy agencies that work with children and teens can be accessed here: English  | Spanish

smmusd mental health

Dear Muir Community:
This email is written with a heavy heart about the latest news of Muir relocating. Having served as Muir’s Mental Health Counselor just under three years, I quickly learned what a special campus this really is. It is completely understandable all the feelings this news brings up for everyone, especially for our students. Family Service of Santa Monica is the MH agency based at Muir for many years now and we will continue to be of service to the Muir students wherever and however things will look like next school year and the years to come. As the plans for next year develop and solidify, FSSM will be available for briefintervention/check-in with students to talk about these upcoming changes. If you and your family feel you would benefit from talking to mental health therapist, please contact our agency and ask for, Angie Vargas at (310) 451-9747 or email me at angelavargas@vistadelmar.org

Below are also some general tips that can be helpful with supporting students in navigating these changes:

General tips to help students:

  • Engage in conversations when you are feeling relaxed and calm. It's okay to table a conversation until YOU are ready to have it

  • Follow student's lead and gage their understanding of the relocation plans; some students may be more aware than others

  • Provide space for students to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas and listen carefully to their concerns or fears

    • Reflective listening: reflect back what students share with you, so students can feel heard and understood

    • Validation: this helps students feel all their feelings are valid and are okay to have

    • Reassurance: that there are many adults coming together to make the best decisions for them and their school experience next year and the future of their school. There are so many adults that love and care Muir and are doing everything they can to solve this problem together

    • Reframe:  change can also be good and there is still hope even in uncertain times. ***Use reframing once their feelings of sadness, anger, confusion are first validated and heard, to avoid any bypassing of important emotions. Once you can reframe, can ask students: what is something that can be exciting about this upcoming change

  • Continue class routines and celebratory plans to end the school year in a joyful note! Increase moments of joy and excitement

  • Remind students to their connection to Muir and that their connection to the school community goes beyond these walls, they are a family wherever they go

  • Explore ideas to stay in touch as friends, ie: planning play dates; pen pals, zoom parties

  • Be aware of student's sensitivities to disruption especially kids who are easily dysregulated by changes and/or experience anxiety

    • Increase ability to take breaks

    • Start the school day with grounding activities (SEL tools)

  • Connect feelings to areas to their body (ie: nervous/sweaty hands; sad/heavy heart)

  • Normalize and validate big feelings and crying (crying releases endorphin in the brain which are feel-good chemicals that help ease both physical and emotional pain)

Muir Transition Support

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Sesame Street in Communities

Sesame Street in Communities is full of activities, games and art for families and children to explore for all areas of identity, community and mental health support. There is also support for care givers to explore during difficult times.

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Shine

Shine is a mental wellness app for adults with daily meditations and self care, with both free and premium options. Shine believes that fighting for the mental health of marginalized groups helps fight for their lives and rights—and it’s one of the most important ways to improve the global landscape of mental health.

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PS Arts

Art as a form of therapy and expression can help regulate emotions and build confidence. PS Arts is utilized in our SMMUSD schools with our amazing teachers. PS Arts also has On-The-Go programs available to view online to utilized at home.

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Headspace

Headspace is a meditation app to help learn to manage feelings and thoughts with the lifelong skill of everyday mindfulness, any time of the day. Ranging from categories in basic mindfulness to managing stress, plus tools like articles and sleep radio. Headspace has free options! 

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Breathwrk

FREE app with guided breathing exercises to help alleviate anxiety, fall asleep, get energized, and more! Breath work is an essential way to check in with your body. Breath work exercises can be done alone or incorporated into meditation. This app is great for the whole family to do alone and together.

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Cosmic Kid 

Yoga

Yoga and stretching are tools for the entire family to use. Cosmic Kids is also available in app form, but has free videos and downloadable tools on the website. Free Cosmic Kids videos can also be searched on YouTube!