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Personal wellness is finding a greater well-being through positively connecting the mind and body. In a simpler sense, achieving personal wellness comes from maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. This training package addresses the broad concept of personal wellness, fully embracing the extensive research showing that mind and body are inextricably connected and therefore it is impossible to have good overall wellness without good mental health. However, while physical health is easily discussed and dealt with openly, conversation about mental health is often met with discomfort, fear, and stigma. The training package and all resources contained herein have been designed for users to learn more about personal wellness and mental health–and to teach others about issues that address and support overall wellness, with an emphasis on the unique stresses that occur in the lives of migratory students and their families.

Click here for the complete Introduction to the Personal Wellness Training Package

MODULE 1: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

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SYNOPSIS:

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) appear in many forms and can affect brain development, behavior, and learning. They convey life-long implications for health. Childhood trauma is not something you just “get over” as you grow up. The repeated stress of abuse, neglect, and family members struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. These effects unfold across a lifetime, exposing those who have experienced high levels of trauma to the risk of chronic physical health issues, depression, and other mental health struggles.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Understand right- and left-brain functions and their relation to trauma.

  • Learn evidence-based strategies for trauma-informed support for young adults.

  • Explore strategies for students who may be seeking help, either from their personal support systems or from qualified professionals.

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MODULE 2:

Trauma

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SYNOPSIS:

The concept of trauma is defined is an experience, threat, or witnessing of physical harm that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that individual trauma “is a result from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening, and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Describe the core principles of trauma and trauma-informed care.

  • Define trauma in its various forms: acute, chronic, and complex and describe their impact on the brain.

  • Identify the unique trauma(s) that can affect the migrant population.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of both risk and protective factors.

  • Emphasize the impact of positive relationships.

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MODULE 3:

Cultural Responsiveness

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SYNOPSIS:

Cultural responsiveness means being aware that cultural differences and similarities exist and understanding how those differences may markedly influence reactions to different issues. In particular this module highlights how different cultures may view mental health issues and how service providers can address issues like stigma and misunderstanding specifically in the Latinx community, as the majority of migratory students have a Latinx heritage. However, these principles and activities can be adapted to use with all other cultures as well.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Understand provider’s personal cultural lens and explore different types of cultural diversity.

  • Identify the barriers to addressing mental health in Latinx communities.

  • Develop culturally responsive practices (awareness and competence)

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MODULE 4:

Resilience

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SYNOPSIS:

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of trauma, tragedy, threat, or overwhelming stress. Adversity includes family and relationship problems, serious health problems, workplace and financial stress, or unanticipated tragedy. While resilience can involve “bouncing back”, it's important to realize that someone who experiences trauma will not retain all of the same outlooks and opinions after that experience. However, that change can be seen as growth. When focusing on improving mental health and wellness, learning resilience skills is important in order to create a life where one can grow and improve in the midst of life’s challenges. The foundational principles of resilience—relationships, self-care, self-awareness, purpose, and mindfulness—offer opportunity for personal growth.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Define the ability of brains to adapt and grow even in the face of adversity.

  • See the role of resilience skills in coping with and healing from stress and trauma-related effects.

  • Assess personal resilience and find opportunities for growth

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SYNOPSIS:

Mindfulness is the practice of self-regulating one’s attention “with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance,” to calm and soothe by shifting focus away from the effects of a stressor to the present moment. Trauma can be present in anyone’s life, but for most migratory students and indirectly, their service providers, that stress can be multiplied in a number of areas ranging from immigration issues, cultural or language barriers, poverty, and poor physical or mental health. Like any skill, mindfulness takes practice. It is important to encourage students with the reminder that often the only thing standing between us and our goals is a little bit of practice. Mindfulness also includes the effort of not taking things for granted and returning one’s focus to the present moment again and again.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Demonstrate an ability to practice mindfulness in your own life to develop the skills to communicate it to others.

  • Increase your ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, and anxiety.

  • Teach strategies to achieve personal wellbeing

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SYNOPSIS:

This module is the only one that focuses solely on service providers. Self-care is the collection of strategies used to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of vicarious (secondary) trauma and promote personal well-being. Educators and advocates of young people must acknowledge they cannot effectively support students in healthy development if they cannot model healthy habits in their own lives. Neglecting oneself can make one vulnerable to collateral stress that can lead to increased anxiety, distraction, fatigue, anger, or depression that hampers the ability to meet the needs of students.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Differentiate concepts of self-care, compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue.

  • Show the signs associated with compassion fatigue and secondary trauma.

  • Learn strategies and personal priorities to develop and support a work/life balance.

  • Explore self-care strategies and develop a personal self-care plan

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SYNOPSIS:

Once MEP services providers realize the breadth and depth of the effects of trauma on migratory students, they understand the need for trauma-informed support practices. These practices are honed specifically to address the way people affected by trauma react to learning. Knowledge of right- and left-brain activity applies to trauma-informed care in that service providers must understand that a person affected by trauma initially reacts and operates from the right brain. They are often not able to think logically and understand consequences. With a focus on mental health and wellness, service providers need basic knowledge about how a nurturing relationship and environment can improve the extent and strength of connections in a student’s brain, leading to a greater ability to overcome.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Understand right- and left-brain functions and their relation to trauma.

  • Learn evidence-based strategies for trauma-informed support for young adults.

  • Explore strategies for students who may be seeking help, either from their personal support systems or from qualified professionals.

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MODULE 8:

Suicide Prevention

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SYNOPSIS:

Every year thousands of individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. Research shows that one in 10 Americans have thought about suicide. It is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death for people 35-54. In the era of Covid-19, it is more important than ever that we are there for each other, and that together, we take steps to prevent suicide. You do not have to be a mental health professional to make a difference; just one conversation can save a life.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Learn to understand suicide, its warning signs, risk factors and action steps you can take to take to save lives.  

  • Learn strategies to start conversations about suicide.

  • Know resources to support prevention efforts.

  • Ensure that you and your staff are comfortable, competent, and well prepared to recognize, respond, and manage suicide risk.

For additional information on these important topics, visit these organizations:

PACEs Connection

 

PACEs Connection, an ever-growing social network, connects those who are implementing trauma-informed and resilience-building practices based on ACEs science. The network’s 40,000+ members share their best practices, while inspiring each other to grow the PACEs movement.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

 

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

NCSSLE (The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments)

 

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) offers information and technical assistance to States, districts, schools, institutions of higher learning, and communities focused on improving school climate and conditions for learning. We believe that with the right resources and support, educational stakeholders can collaborate to sustain safe, engaging and healthy school environments that support student academic success.

Child Welfare Information Gateway

 

Provides a multitude of resources on child abuse prevention, strengthening families, and evidence-based practices.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

 

Provides information about various topics about trauma including types, culture and trauma, economic stress, evidence-based treatment and services, and tips on creating trauma-informed systems.

Treatment and Service Adaptation Center (Trauma Aware Schools)

 

The Treatment and Services Adaptation Center website is supported by a team of clinicians, researchers, and educators who are respected authorities in the areas of school trauma and crisis response.

 

Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Project

 

The Light for Life Foundation Int’l/Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program® is dedicated to preventing suicide and attempts by making suicide prevention accessible to everyone and removing barriers to help by:

  • empowering individuals and communities through leadership, awareness, and education

  • collaborating and partnering with support networks to reduce stigma and help save lives

This information is presented for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for informed medical advice or training. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified health or mental health care provider. If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals. You may also call 1-800-662-4357 to reach the National Helpline.