Dear Verona Community,

During these challenging times, it is imperative that we make our personal mental health and the mental health of our children a priority. It is important to pay careful attention to our children’s behaviors, the emotions we ourselves are experiencing, and the way we interact with each other. In order to preserve our bodies, we need to exercise. The same practice has to happen psychologically in order to maintain a healthy mental state. How we think, feel and behave is dictated by our mental well-being. Normal daily stressors can cause feelings of sadness, anxiety, or other negative feelings but when we have a positive mindset, we cope better with daily stresses. However, the impact of the pandemic coupled with the social unrest in our country have increased anxiety, confusion, and depression for many students and adults over the past six months.

In August 2020, The Kaiser Family Foundation, leading analyst for health policy and health journalism, said “Many people have been adversely impacted by the pandemic COVID-19 and the subsequent economic crisis and created additional challenges to people already dealing with mental illness and drug use issues. Many adults often experience clear negative effects on their mental health and well-being, such as trouble sleeping (36 %) or eating (32 %), increased alcohol or drug use (12 %) and worsening chronic conditions (12 %) due to concern and stress about coronavirus. As the pandemic spreads, ongoing and required public health interventions expose more people to conditions linked to poor mental health outcomes, such as loneliness and work losses.”

Parents are the first line of mental support for their children, so the above statistics are concerning. Similar to a parent on an airplane who is told to first put on their life jacket before helping their child put on theirs; parents must focus on their own mental health while demonstrating to their children the necessary coping skills to face adversity. To assist parents, students and staff in doing just that, the district has expanded its Health and Wellness webpage. The page on Health and Wellness has been built so that parents can quickly navigate the page to find mental health maintenance programs, methods to encourage good mental health, and district support staff for a more comprehensive approach to advice and access to resources. I hope you will enjoy the new format and use it often. If you need additional assistance, please feel free to contact your building principal or counseling staff. Moreover, my office is always available to provide you additional support and guidance.

Click here for a guided presentation of the Health and Wellness webpage.