Mental Health Matters Blog

  • Update from Cliff on Mental Health Consulting

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 2/9/2017

    Thank you to Cliff Carmody, the Executive Director for SWWC, for this well-written update on the programming we are offering in Mental Health! 


    mental health update

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  • Parenting & Patience

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 2/8/2017

    So many times we are called on as Educators or people working with youth to help with family challenges and provide resources and referrals to parents. Kidlutions just recently shared this article on cultivating parental patience. It's got some great tips we can share with parents and keep in mind for ourselves, too! 

    8 Ways to Cultivate Parental Patience

    We’re only human, which makes us the perfect fit when it comes to raising other humans. Because of our humanity, we are susceptible to impatience. The times when our impatience makes its presence known may not be some of our most shining moments of parenthood, but these times need not define us. Like anything else, patience can be cultivated and developed. That’s good news for all of us!

    Patient parents have happier and more well-adjusted children. If you’re patient, your children are more likely to be patient with others as well, including your future grandchildren. That’s good news for everyone, as it has a ripple effect reaching far beyond the confines of our homes.


    Here, we share eight ideas on cultivating patient parenting:


    1. All the world’s a stage. Here’s a classic tip that really works. Everyone’s behavior improves when they believe they have an audience.Maintaining your composure is much more likely if you pretend that someone is watching you.

    2. Remember back. Sometimes we forget that we were young once, too. If you can see things from your child’s perspective, you’ll be more likely to keep your emotions under control.

    3. Take a break. Sometimes the smartest move is to disengage for a few minutes. Give yourself a chance to collect yourself and then return with a calm composure. Notice how much better your conduct yourself after taking a few minutes.

    4. Focus on the long-term. Kids are just kids. We all know they’re not perfect. You’re their teacher, so use a challenging moment to teach them something valuable.
    • Demonstrating patience in a tough moment will show your children what patience is like. Point out to them how they can use the same positive techniques for beneficial results.

    1. Review session. When the situation is over, ask yourself how you could’ve handled the situation better. Then visualize yourself handling the situation in the new way. If you do this enough times, you patience will continuously improve. This is the road to developing a high level of patience.

    2. See things in the context of development. Children’s brains aren’t even close to developed…not in the least. They rely on you to help them manage their BIG feelings. Stop punishing children for not knowing how to manage big emotions. Avoid reprimanding children for their skill-deficits. Instead, focus on skill-building for a better tomorrow.

    3. Count to 10 or take 10 deep breaths. Even better, do both at the same time. You can avoid your initial impulse to overreact. You’ll be able to feel the frustration melting away. Taking a moment to calm yourself provides an excellent model to your children about how it’s done. Taking deep breaths help you unhook from your own emotional brain and access your prefrontal cortex (the area of your brain that makes good, solid decisions).

    4. Set a goal to be more patient. Intention counts for a lot. Start each day with the intention of being a more patient person in general. Practice patience with everyone in every situation. If you’re a more patient spouse, friend, and employee, you’re bound to be a more patient parent, too.
    • Having a goal creates a target and helps to bring about focus. It’s challenging to become more patient if you don’t have patience as a goal. Give it a try.


    Patience can be nurtured. You have to take the first step and be very intentional about it. An added bonus is that patient parents build stronger relationships with their children. Don’t delay…start being more patient today!

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  • Preventing Suicide Webinar

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 1/12/2017
    Our January Mental Health Webinar focuses on Suicide Prevention. Watch the short video below to see why it’s important to take part in this webinar!
    Please share this information with others and plan to attend the webinar on January 24. 
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  • Mindfulness in the Classroom

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 12/23/2016

    Mindfulness is a very popular word right now. The definition of mindfulness is "the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something." Another definition states it as being "a mental state acheived by focusing one's awareness on the presen moment, while calmly acknoledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations." We already know there are immense benefits to the practice of mindfulness as adults. In recent years, there have been many schools implementing mindfulness practices into their schools, and they too are seeing great outcomes. It makes sense when you consider that we are working with youth to be more aware of themselves - their feelings, their bodies, their actions, etc. This helps build better social/emotional outcomes while also enhancing the climate of the classroom and hallways. Read more about this practice here

    And, may you all have a very happy, mindful holiday season! 

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  • Lessons Learned

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 12/16/2016

    I attended the Grow Our Own Summit yesterday in Marshall, Minnesota. This gathering was aimed at understanding the increasing opportunity gap that is occurring nationally as well as right here in Southwest Minnesota. I was struck by a number of statistics shared. 

    • 1 in 6 kids in Southwest Minnesota live in poverty.
    • There's been a decline in family dinners and extracurricular activities for our youth.
    • 16% of studenst in SWMN have had a parent incarcerated. 
    • 10% of SWMN students have parents who abuse alcohol.
    • 18% of SWMN students have sought mental health treatment. 
    • 1 in 20 SWMN students have witnessed domestic violence.
    • 1 in 10 SWMN students are beign reuglarly insulted by parents or have been physically hit by a parent.

    There was also some more positive news and ideas, too. 

      • Some families are investing more quality time with their kids. We just need to find ways to encourage and build that interaction as we know that brains develop through that meaningful social interaction.
      • We need to be considering ways to encourage stable, caring families in whatever role or capcity we are in.
      • We must continue to focus on early childhood engagement. It was shared that 90% of the brain's development occurs before the age of 5. This is so profound and important. Early interventions can not be overstated. 

    And the statistic that I keep wrestling with in the hours following this training is:

    1 in 5 students in Southwest Minnesota have contemplated suicide. 1 in 5. 


    Even as someone who works in this field, that number seemed high. We have work to do. I hope you'll join me in the efforts of empowering adults to understand and intervene when we are seeing these struggles. 

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  • Mental Health Webinar TODAY!

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 12/14/2016

    Excited to talk about Mental Health Strategies and Interventions with webinar partcicipants today!

    If you haven't signed up yet, please register at

    See you at 3PM! 

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  • November Monthly Webinar

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 12/5/2016

    On November 30th, we hosted a webinar on Bullying Prevention and Intervention. It was an engaged group of participants, and we covered a lot of information in one hour. If you're looking for more information, assistance, or consultation on bullying topics, please call or email me!



    Don't forget to sign up for our Monthly Mental Health Webinar Series at We've got a lot of powerful workshops planned that will help you be more effective each and every day! 

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  • Bullying Webinar TODAY!

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 11/30/2016

    Don't forget the Monthly Mental Health Webinar Series begins TODAY! The first webinar is Moving Beyond Excuses: The Reality of Bullying. There are so many misconceptions about bullying - what it means, how it happens, and what its effects are. Let's work together to understand the true nature of the problem and how we can best intervene to improve outcomes with youth. 

    Sign up now at and feel free to email me with any questions at   


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  • Be present.

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 11/23/2016

    We often underestimate our abilities to help. We think that we can't possibly have the right words to say the proper thing or respond the right way. We don't need to be perfect when we reach out to someone else; we just need to be present and genuine. One of my favorite stories in the news of late is about a 4-year old girl named Norah and an elderly man named Dan. You see, Dan had been struggling with immense grief, depression, and loneliness for quite some time. In a random chance encounter in the grocery store, Norah reached out to him, told him about her birthday, asked for a hug, and even took a photo with him. Listening to the way he talks about this brief encounter, it's easy to see it changed the way he looked at the world around him. This simple action from a 4-year-old helped ease the immense mental pain that this widower was going through and allowed him to feel like had a purpose in life again. They've since bonded further and see each other weekly. We don't have to be experts to reach out to one another. We just need to be present. 

    Take a few minutes to watch this video and remember to be present this week as others in the grocery store aisle or gas station line may be needing an extra smile or encouragement, too. 


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  • Meeting and Connecting

    Posted by Paige Thompson on 11/17/2016

    Earlier this week, I presented at the Minnesota Rural Education Association Conference (MREA). MREA serves as a voice for Greater Minnesota schools. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with others in rural school districts and discuss the very real needs we have especially with responding to mental health challenges. I presented on Youth Mental Health First Aid and Other Strategies for Schools. We had engaging, meaningful conversation about how to best meet these on-going and increasing needs. I enjoyed presenting and meeting other attendees as a vendor. It's always a powerful experience to get so many invested, caring, and intelligent professionals together in one space. 


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