As I contemplate our return to school, especially for our youth, I want to encourage all of us to think about all that we as a world community have experienced, and to consider that we, and our students and their families, are going to need a slow and steady process of becoming reacclimated with our environment.

I said from the beginning, even before COVID19, that it is imperative that we consider our student’s mental health and wellness before we bombard them with a heavy academic schedule. Nothing rings truer than these words during these unprecedented times. We know that if any one of us, most especially youth who have limited coping skills as their brains are still maturing, are experiencing anxiety, anger, sadness, depression, grief or trauma, we cannot expect to learn, retain, or process, nor experience joyful emotions.

Each student will return to school with a variety of challenges, and possibly even trauma. We will all need time to reacclimate, reconnect, and process, and to become adjusted to our new normal which includes wearing masks, social distancing, lunch at student desks, loss of school/after school activities, and possibly delayed/existing trauma responses.

We need to be ready. We need to be patient in the recovery process. We need to practice empathy and awareness of each individual youth and adult in our community. We need to provide a safe and loving space for our school community, and most importantly, to practice our own self care every day. Self care is the actions that we take to achieve and sustain wellness, and wellness is where we stand in our power. If we are unwell, and not taking care of ourselves, we cannot help anyone else.

I suggest having all school and community resources available to share with peers, students and families, and possibly have a virtual resource speaker pertaining to COVID19 after effects and protective factors that will be beneficial for all of us. In addition, restorative circles is also a wonderful tool to have a safe conversation, and using daily mindfulness tools, and implementing, in baby steps, a Social Emotional Learning Curriculum. Lastly, to provide a virtual communal safe space for youth to talk about their feelings, emotions, and how they are coping with an adult who can provide a loving space and immediate local resources, if and when needed. We can provide resource information as a common procedure.

For more information on Mental Health & Wellness Literacy Professional Development Trainings for Educators, support staff, and families, please visit my “Trainings Page” on this website at

This training provides a basic 101 introduction to Mental Health including awareness and prevention strategies, risk and protective factors for mental health, self care/wellness strategies for youth and for adults, restorative circles, a trauma informed approach, trauma risk and protective factors, a multi-dimensional holistic approach to wellness, mindfulness strategies, COVID19 and youth mental health, and Social Emotional Learning, including Transformative SEL as a lever for equity, and recovery!

I am also offering Suicide Safety for School Staff. Read more about that training on the “Trainings Page” on this site.

We have a long road ahead of us. There is no rush. Let’s go slowly, with purpose, as a loving community. We will get there…together.

Love and blessings,


Wendy Blanchard