Resources for student social and emotional wellness
Students today may be faced with issues that can affect their social and emotional wellness. Mesa Public Schools is dedicated to providing comprehensive support for students and their families, so that they may be successful academically, socially and emotionally. The topics listed below may be issues your child is facing and we hope the resources listed below assist you in navigating those issues.
Students: If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the issues listed below, use the resources and links provided to become informed on how to help yourself and your peers. If you need help with an issue not listed, do not hesitate to reach out to a district staff member for further assistance. We will ensure you will be provided with the appropriate information and resources to help you with your problem.
Parents: If you are concerned about the social or emotional wellness of your child, please refer to the information on this site to start a conversation within your family. Below you will find information and resources intended to guide you and your child to assistance and solutions. If you seek help on a subject not listed below, do not hesitate to reach out to the appropriate contact at your child's school, such as a counselor or principal.
Please note, some resources may be affected by the statewide school closures due to COVID-19.
Adjusting to a new school
Students adjust differently when making a transition to a new school. Students may be transitioning due to any number of reasons, including moving into the district, changing schools due to age (elementary to middle school to high school), or due to their enrollment management assignment.
The keys to a smooth transition include:
Talk through any concerns
Adverse childhood experiences
Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer.
Anxiety and Depression
If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed with thoughts of anxiety, depression or suicide, reach out to a helpline immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or if you prefer to text, send 'TALK' to 741741.
If you are seeking additional, professional help from a mental health care facility, please reach out to the a representative at the resources listed below:
Bullying and harassment
Mesa Public Schools offers multiple resources for students and families, including directions on how to report bullying in your child's school.
Crisis Prevention Network
When life is overwhelming, if someone is worried about a loved one, or if someone just needs a caring person to listen, Crisis Response Network provides immediate and confidential help. Everyone faces crisis, but no one needs to go through it alone. The Crisis Response Network has experienced, professionally trained Crisis Specialists are ready to respond 24/7/365 to whatever crisis an individual is facing. Call 602-222-9444 for help at any time.
Talking about COVID-19 with young children
Early learner resources
Association for Supportive Child Care: Facebook live classes 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. for parents with young children.
Birth to Five Helpline: Free support for families with questions or concerns about their infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Call 877-705-KIDS.
Parent Partners Plus: Free in-home and virtual family support.
Lutheran Social Services Family Resource Center: Offers virtual family resource centers and online classes.
Eating disorders and healthy body image
(Mesa Public Schools neither endorses nor sponsors the organization or activity represented in this material. The publication of this material is provided as a community service.)
The National Eating Disorders Association provides valuable resources for parents, including a screening tool and links to support groups and other resources.
Facts about eating disorders.
Eating disorder prevention.
For teens: Accept, like and take care of your body.
5 signs your child might have an eating disorder. (video)
"I Stopped Eating for Two Weeks to Get Thinner" (video)
Helping children cope with death
How to discuss death with your child:
- Be aware of your own feelings and beliefs about death so you can talk with your child as naturally as possible when the opportunities arise. If you believe in heaven and want to tell your child about it, it is important to emphasize that he or she won't see the person again on earth.
- Do not confront them with information that they may not understand or want to know, but instead be sensitive to their desire to communicate when they are ready. If they can't express their feelings in words, it may be helpful to have them draw a picture about their feelings or make something out of playdough. As they draw or make things, use empathy to give their feelings a name: "You're sad. You miss __________. Tell me about it."
- Offer them honest explanations when they are obviously upset. The best approach is to use simple and brief explanations in language they can understand. Only offer answers to questions that are asked.
- Avoid confusing explanations and mixed messages that increase anxiety in children, such as:
- "Went to sleep"-this may make them fearful of going to bed or taking naps
- "Went away"-brief separations with other loved ones may begin to worry them
- "Sickness caused the death"-especially young children can't distinguish between temporary and fatal illnesses
- "Only old people die"-this can lead to distrust when they realize that young people can die too
- Checking to see if a child has understood what has been said is critical. Youngsters sometimes confuse what they hear. Also, children learn through repetition and may need to hear the same question answered over and over again.
- Grief in children is much different than grief in adults. Adults may "live in a heavy fog" for a while, but children tend to bounce in and out of grief, crying one moment and laughing the next. This can be confusing to children. Listen to and accept their feelings.
- Do not put off their questions by telling them they are too young.
- If you do not know the answer to their questions, answers such as "I honestly don't know the answer to that one" can be more comforting and help them feel better for not knowing everything also.
- Provide security. The death of a classmate may for the first time cause your child to think of his or her own mortality or the mortality of his or her parent. You may reassure your child that you will take care of them and probably won't die until they are all grown up. Since none of us know when we will die, don't make any promises to your child that you will always be there for him or her.
- Between the ages of 5 and 9, most children developmentally are beginning to realize that death is final and that all living things die. They also tend to personify death (for example, they may associate death with a skeleton), and some children have nightmares about death.
- Know that children develop at different rates in their perception of death and have different reactions. For example, a child may appear unconcerned about the death of a grandparent but may react strongly to the death of a pet. No matter how children cope with death, they need sympathetic and nonjudgmental responses from adults.
- Don't make them go to funerals or visitations unless they express a desire to do so. It may also be a good idea to let them know in advance what will take place at the ceremony ahead of time so there are no surprises and they know what to expect.
Homeless and at-risk families seeking shelter may contact the Family Housing Hub at 602-595-8700 for an emergency screening for shelter placement.
- Parenting Skills (raising positive, confident children)
- Academic (reading, math, kindergarten prep)
- Online classes (Gmail, social media, online safety)
- Classes offered in Spanish (Brain Time, Kinder Prep)
- Spanish interpreting available (if requested in registration form)
Social media and technology
Struggling to keep up with the media and tech your kids are using? Refer to the district's educational technology digital citizenship resources.
As a parent, it can be difficult trying to figure out how and when to bring up topics such as alcohol and drugs in your child’s life. KidsHealth.org provides brief information on common drugs as well as how to talk about them with your kids.
Ask Listen Learn provides kid-friendly cartoons that help parents start the conversation of how alcohol affects kids’ brains.
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens provides a helpful website that discusses what drugs such as marijuana, bath salts, cocaine, etc., do to the body. There are also games that help explain the repercussions in a teen-friendly way.
No matter what problems a child is facing, resources are available to help him/her find a reason to keep living. By calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) children at risk for suicide will be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7. They can also text 741-741 and type HELP. Someone will respond who is trained to help.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides information, support, warning signs, risk factors, statistics and treatment regarding suicide.
Vaping, JUUL and e-cigarettes
What is a JUUL?
A JUUL is an e-cigarette/vaping device that resembles a USB flash drive and can be recharge in any USB port (such as a laptop). JUULs have a subtle and sleek design that can easily be hidden from parents or teachers. Like traditional tobacco products, vaping is not without serious risks. Parents need to be in the know about the risks and what products are on the market.
How to talk to your teen about vaping
Know the facts.
Research vaping online from credible sources.
Become familiar with the latest terminology.
Be patient and ready to listen.
Avoid criticism and encourage dialogue.
The goal is to have a conversation, not deliver a lecture.
It is ok to have conversations over time, in bits and pieces.
Find the right moment. A more natural discussion will increase the likelihood that your teen will listen. Bring up the topic when:
Someone who is vaping nearby.
You pass an e-cigarette store or retail display.
See or hear an e-cigarette advertisement.
Set a positive example by being tobacco-free.
If you use tobacco, it is never too late to quit.
Food support Local services for families in need
United Food Bank
Offering a drive-thru style food distribution on Fridays, 8 a.m. to noon, at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St.
Arizona Food Bank Network Find a food bank near you.
Pandemic school meal replacement benefits
Learn more Arizona P-EBT Pandemic School Meal Replacement Benefits to households with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.