The NFSJ interns, along with our LET counterparts at Social Capital Inc, participated in a second workshop on Tuesday on the topic of youth mental health. We met with Ariana DePreta, a licensed therapist and specialist regarding the intersection of mental healtha nd sports, who walked us through what mental health is, some common illnesses, and most importantly, tools we could realistically use to deal with our mental health challenges.
Her lesson was highly interactive, with multiple “turn and talks” and an open discussion throughout. The SCI interns were able to offer a lot of insight into the link between mental health and social media, which was something I hadn’t yet deeply explored. I really liked how all the mental illnesses and terms were clearly defined and openly discussed without stigma or judgment. We thought about daily practices like gratitude journals, art, or consciously clearing your mind to aid in long term wins against anxiety or depression.
Ariana then taught us the calming or distracting tools we could use when we found ourselves in highly stressful, or anxious situations. One of my personal favorites was the five senses countdown, which was a method that worked to distract your mind from anxious thoughts. The countdown is when you look for 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. I like the process because it not only helps me be more aware of the space I’m in, but also stops my mind from spiraling. Other methods included deep belly breathing, visualization, and smart talk. All of them were fairly intuitive and easy to remember.
Funding for Leaders for an Equitable Tomorrow provided Winchester Hospital Community Benefits, and the project is coordinated by SCI and NFSJ.