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Engaging Families, Schools & Communities t o Support Youth Mental Health Through Self-Regulation. Reflections from the Field. Hope is good…and more powerful with knowledge. We all have mental health. Mental Illness/Disorder.

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Reflections from the Field


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    1. Engaging Families, Schools & Communities to Support Youth Mental Health Through Self-Regulation Reflections from the Field Hope is good…and more powerful with knowledge. Mike McKay/CSRI

    2. We all have mental health Mental Illness/Disorder How does the science of self-reg support better mental health outcomes across the population? Mental Health Problem Mental Distress No distress, problem or disorder Mike McKay/CSRI From Dr. Stan Kutcher

    3. Let’s Agree on This • We are at a crucial time in human development – at the individual, community and global levels; • It is time that what we know impacts what we do; • We don’t live in a “one size fits all” world and our children should not have to fit our “comfortable” system/adult routines; and, • We need to adapt to a “post-behaviourist” world. Power/authority and reward/punishment don’t build human capacity. Mike McKay/CSRI

    4. Basic Concepts at the Core of Self-Regulation • Life – from before birth until the moment of death – is a rhythm of energy spent and energy restored • Your “survival” brain – the ancient part of your brain’s development – is always engaged. When it is on high alert, your “learning” brain – the most recent development in human evolution – cannot operate. So…you can’t learn if you are filled with anxiety or fear. All of your energy is being spent on survival. Mike McKay/CSRI

    5. Your Brain: Command Central Basics Feeling safety or at risk (level of stress) determines the brain’s capacity to function from one level to the next • Under stress, adrenaline is released to deal with threat: • Raises heart rate & blood pressure • Increases breathing rate • Increases hyper-vigilance • Increased sensitivity to low-frequency sounds Mike McKay/CSRI

    6. Your Brain Under Stress: What Works/What Stops On high alert, our resources prioritize to support high energy demands of the brain and large muscle groups for fight or flight. Survival trumps everything else and a number of systems are slowed or shut down: Digestion Cellular repair Metabolism Immune system Hearing of the human voice Prefrontal cortical functioning Mike McKay/CSRI

    7. The Self-Regulation Journey: New Tools in the Toolbox “Instead of consistently feeling frustrated with this student’s behavior, I have been able to help the student find ways that she can feel more in control and successful, and leave for the day on a positive note. I feel that by talking about self-regulation, teaching strategies and providing a range of opportunities in my classroom, I am enabling my students to take more responsibility for their own learning, and to drive their own bus”… Mike McKay/CSRI Reflections from the First Wave Team

    8. Stress-Response Systems Three core systems for responding to stress: • Social Engagement • Fight-or-Flight • Freeze Mike McKay/CSRI

    9. Teaching Styles/Parenting Styles: Curiosity Versus Blame: A Teacher’s Voice …”I am starting to look at the reasons behind problem behaviors, rather than just giving consequences for students’ poor choices. It is less about what I need them to do and more about what they need from me”… …”I see more clearly what my students bring to the classroom with them (both gifts and challenges) and have an understanding of how these issues impact their learning time with me. I have also had to take a hard look at myself and my teaching. The piles of paper , the stacks of books here and there, the chaos is adding to the visual clutter. The disorganization of the “stuff” is unsettling for some of my kids”… Reflections from the First Wave Team Mike McKay/CSRI

    10. The Effects of Excessive Stress Mike McKay/CSRI

    11. Strategies to Support Children’s Return to Calm • Decrease power/authority relationships • Give children choice • Increase activity time • Change the classroom design • Recognize “dysregulating” variables • Introduce classroom tools • Teach self-regulation • Up-regulate/down-regulate as needed Calm Focused Alert Mike McKay/CSRI

    12. What Our Children Deal with Today- From Infancy • less natural food/more fast food packed with sugars/salts/fats • Disconnection from nature because of crowded urban living, environmental pollution and “stranger danger” • Lack of sleep – time and quality • Screen time (the video screen is NOT a good teacher or child care provider) • Exposure to violence and other anti-social behaviour • Family stressors: parents working two jobs, intergenerational poverty, family violence, lack of community supports and connections Mike McKay/CSRI

    13. Beyond self-control…It’s not all about “willpower” heightened stress means child has to work much harder to pay attention negative effects caused by falling further behind, being yelled at, having greater social problems, etc., exacerbate the drain on nervous system leads to a chronic state of heightened anxiety Reflections from the First Wave Team Mike McKay/CSRI

    14. Being an Emotion Detective: What Got Your Student to “Flooded” (and What Won’t Bring Him Back) • A child’s meltdowns (mental distress or emerging mental health problems) are often precipitated by something by something that has frightened them, including emotional associations • They are particularly vulnerable to these reactions when they’re in a LE/HT state • These reactions can put them instantly into LE/HT • Far from being acts of self-indulgence, a child’s meltdowns are a cry for help • “Old School” approaches won’t lead to a positive re-set Mike McKay/CSRI

    15. Join us on this learning journey via • The website: www.self-regulation.ca • Anon-line book club or webinar series • A staff study/action research group • Initiating a project at your school • Recommending articles for colleagues via the website Catch the Wave www.self-regulation.ca “Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day” Our Shared Commitment

    16. Together, We Make a Difference Embrace Curiosity. Build Community. Mike McKay/CSRI