The Minneapolis nonprofit announces expansions to outpatient care, family therapy, hospital partnerships and a virtual games event for kids at home
MINNEAPOLIS – October 1, 2020 – When a child falls off a bike and breaks an arm, caregivers know exactly how to spring into action. Whether at the hospital or doctor’s office, a serious wound is met with comprehensive care. When a child’s injuries are internal, it can be harder to know when to reach out for help.
COVID-19 and the tumult of 2020 have impacted caretakers and children alike, and many people are left feeling unequipped and vulnerable. In response, Washburn Center for Children has expanded to help families cope with this ongoing emotional whiplash.
From more support for families in crisis, like the recently extended Washburn Allina Acute Response Model (WAARM) for families leaving mental health-related hospital stays, to the fun and light-hearted Washburn Games: At-home Edition, kids and their caretakers are finding more ways to feel known, heard and supported.
Parent perspective: Normal is no more.
Parents are under extreme stress of “scenario living” – planning for what if’s, making a decision only to have no control over the actual path and second guessing choices. Surviving may feel like progress. One of Washburn Center’s clinical leaders reminds us that the right choice is rooted in what’s best for a family unit. There is no one answer and some parents may need to hear: It’s ok to ask for help.
Community Perspective: There’s still the need to breakdown stigma surrounding mental health.
“We are on the brink of a significant increase in mental health needs as we begin the school year,” cautions Jennifer Britton, Washburn Center’s Director of Children and Family Services. “Our kids and our mental health system were fragile and under resourced before the pandemic hit and changed our landscape. We need to stay close to our kids and watch for the signs and signals that they need help – then step up with the right support quickly.”
Kid perspective: “all my usual places are gone”
COVID has created a seismic shift for our kids – their sense of loss is too much for their minds and hearts to process alone. Time and places are gaps that can fuel fear and build anticipatory worry into their bodies. As their foundation has been rocked, we know children are feeling a heaviness and sadness of missing out — on friends, teachers, sports, learning, and social skills. And, that often doesn’t come out in words; when familiar ground feels even shakier, it “comes out sideways.”
A Game Plan. Children’s mental health is as important as their physical health AND physical activities can boost mental health. Have we got an idea for Twin Cities families: #2020WashburnGames
What’s in store: Serious and silly instructional videos from local athletes, celebs, neighbors and Washburn staff centered on sports, body movement, mindfulness and family fun including:
- A few of the Twin Cities leading mascots (Crunch and Mudonna) will get kids’ motivated for this year’s game, which is completely free and accessible online.
- Former Minnesota Gopher Blake Hoffarber shares his amazing basketball skills
- Tony Sanneh, former World Cup soccer player, gives tips and tricks
- Fun dance classes with Heather from Minnesota-based studio, mXe
- Paper football fun with Frank Vascellaro and Amelia Santaniello from WCCO
The first 500 kids to register are receiving a motivating prize pack in the mail.
While the Games will run through October 11, the videos and instructional elements will live on longer term as kids continue to experience limits in activities. Families are invited to make a donation in support of children’s mental health, but it’s not a requirement for registration. Any proceeds for the event raised by individuals or organizations, including the support of our numerous corporate sponsors, go directly to support mental healthcare for families and children who need help during these challenging times.