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Child Mind Institute Launches “The California Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Project” to Provide Free Mental Health and Wellness Resources for Caregivers, Educators, and Youth

January 26, 2022

Innovative Resources in Both English and Spanish Empower Parents and Educators to Talk About Mental Health and Teach Kids Critically Important Coping Skills

San Jose, California – As young people continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and face existential threats like climate change, gun violence in schools, civil rights crises, and an uncertain educational and economic future, the national nonprofit the Child Mind Institute, today announced the launch of “The California Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Project” in partnership with the State of California. This platform of free video- and print-based mental health and wellness resources for educators, caregivers, and students is designed to promote children’s emotional health and help them thrive.

With the support of a $25 million grant from the State of California, the Child Mind Institute has developed engaging videos and study guides in English and Spanish that provide caregivers and educators in California with foundational tools to help children manage their emotions. These tools provide resources for caregivers and educators to normalize conversations about emotional wellbeing and teach kids essential coping skills.

The central component of the project is a series of 34 video modules that cover fundamental mental health and wellness skill sets, drawn from the most up-to-date research on youth mental health and informed by the clinical expertise of the Child Mind Institute. That expertise has been honed through services delivered to more than 60,000 students, educators, and caregivers in over 600 schools through the Child Mind Institute’s School and Community Programs.

The videos include introductions for caregivers and educators that provide an overview of the project, the importance of self-care, and signs that kids may need extra help. Video modules (roughly five minutes each) are tailored for each of three different age groups — elementary, middle, and high school — with five videos for each group. These instructional videos address:

  • Understanding Feelings: Recognizing and understanding our emotions is the first step toward healthy coping.  
  • Relaxation Skills: Specific relaxation skills, such as paced breathing, are useful when experiencing intense or uncomfortable emotions.   
  • Understanding Thoughts: Our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all connected. It’s important to become aware of unhelpful thinking patterns and understand our power to change them.   
  • Managing Intense Emotions: Recognizing and coping with big, uncomfortable emotions can help us avoid acting in impulsive ways that might make problems bigger.  
  • Mindfulness: Learning about and practicing mindfulness can increase self-awareness, allow us to pay better attention to the present moment, improve our decision-making and help us deal with uncomfortable emotions.  

Many of the videos feature an interview-based format to capture the true voices and lived experiences of caregivers, teachers, and kids today. Videos for the elementary school age group use a whimsical story-telling approach to engage younger viewers and make the lessons more memorable. The English and Spanish versions were produced using separate directors and cast to enhance cultural relevance. Collectively, the project’s resources reflect the diversity of California’s students, teach basic skills they can use for the rest of their lives, and normalize conversations about mental wellbeing.

“We are honored to launch this campaign to help empower children, caregivers and educators as they navigate the ongoing impacts of the pandemic,” said Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute. “We believe these new resources will offer effective tools — and ignite new hope — to promote the mental health and well-being of California children and young people across our nation.”  

Upon completion of the video series, caregivers and educators will be able to download free written resources summarizing key points, along with exercises to help implement and reinforce the recommendations at home or in school.  There will also be a paid incentive for California teachers who spend 30 minutes watching a selection of the video content and answering a few questions on a web-based platform.

A dedicated digital content hub for “The California Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Project” can be viewed at https://childmind.org/healthyminds/ . The resources are also available for download for anyone who is interested in accessing them.

“Now more than ever, it’s critical that we provide our children with equitable opportunities to develop mental health and wellness skills to support their long-term health, as well as their success later in life,” said California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “I’m hopeful these resources will provide children and the adults in their lives with the tools kids need to thrive.”

“The California Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Project”is consistent with California’s commitment to the mental health and well-being of children and youth. In 2021 the California budget dedicated $4.4 billion in funding over five years for the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) to reimagine the systems that support behavioral health and wellness for California’s children and youth into an innovative, up-stream focused, ecosystem. This ecosystem will focus on promoting well-being and preventing behavioral health challenges, and on routinely screening, supporting, and serving ALL children and youth for emerging and existing behavioral health (mental health and substance use) needs.

About the Child Mind Institute

The Child Mind Institute is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders by giving them the help they need to thrive. We’ve become the leading independent nonprofit in children’s mental health by providing gold-standard care, delivering educational resources to millions of families each year, training educators in underserved communities, and developing tomorrow’s breakthrough treatments. Together, we truly can transform children’s lives.

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