Apr. 21—Foust Elementary School hosted a mental health night for parents Tuesday night to help parents cope with added stress from COVID-19 and work on better understanding their child's brain.
Jen Hester, family resource coordinator, said the school would be partnering with the family outreach coordinator from The Center to help facilitate the meeting.
Parents who attended the meeting went over a variety of topics, such as problem solving, self-control, stress management, attention, how to handle emotional outbursts from their children and fight, flight or freeze mode, according to Hester.
"With the parents, a lot of them just want to talk, they want to get their feelings out and so it's a really good time for them to be able to do that and then ask questions that they're not really sure about," she said. "We're there to listen ... You're not alone. People are going through the same things that you're going through."
Additionally, according to Hester, child care was also available at the meeting and will be in future meetings. Children present worked with the school counselor on learning mindfulness.
Mindfulness, she said, included working on listening techniques and exercises.
"So when someone's talking to you, not trying to formulate a response as they're talking to you because that means you're not really listening," she said.
Hester said the school decided to hold its first mental health night for parents in mid-March after receiving feedback on a COVID-19 survey from parents showing interest in mental health services for their children and family counseling services.
"As we do our surveys and we see that they are interested in some of these programs, it's important for us to follow through and make sure we get them those services," she said. "With COVID-19, people just don't know how to cope; nobody did. And so stress levels for parents increased a lot, and so we just wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to be able to get those things out."
Parents in attendance also received a copy of the book "Your Fantastic Elastic Brain" that teaches children to stretch and grow their brain. They will also receive a variety of other mental health resources and activities that encourage family togetherness.
Hester said the school hopes to continue holding mental health nights monthly throughout the school year.
"We are looking to do this more," she said. "Our parents are asking for it. They want it. Every parent that was here the last time asked to do it more."
Christie Netherton, email@example.com, 270-691-7360