May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As I looked around for some stats to lead into some local free resources, it is clear that the need is widespread and that the pandemic “exacerbated existing disparities in mental health services.” Many of us can see the negative effects, though some found a better fit in remote learning, so I won’t share a bunch of that. Some of the results were articles with signs that your child may be in need of some extra help and some of the virtual and in-person events coming up this month will address those signs as well.
The Edmonds School District continues to offer tips and online resources, including Care Solace Care Concierge available 24/7 at 888-515-0595. Care Solace is a complimentary and confidential service provided to students, staff and their families by Edmonds School District that “can help you quickly find treatment options matched to your needs regardless of the circumstance.” You can visit caresolace.com/site/esd and you can either search on your own or get help via video chat, email, or phone by clicking “Book Appointment.” You can find all of the Edmonds School District Resources at Edmonds.Wednet.edu.
Locally, there are multiple upcoming Mental Health Awareness events for students and adults alike.
Mukilteo-based nonprofit Leadership Launch has their students plan a service project that benefits the community in some way that is meaningful to the students. This year’s project, “Emotion Commotion: Connecting and Leading Through Mental Wellness and Self-Expression,” will be Saturday, May 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at Everett Community College (Henry M. Jackson Conference Center.) Emotion Commotion is a free event for students from 8th grade through college and “reflects the students’ collective solution to feeling disconnected from each other and the community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The event will feature keynote speakers (including Councilmember Mohamed Abdi of Tukwila) and students can also take workshops focused on the topics of “mental wellness through movement, self-expression through art, and leadership through service and connection with the community.” Leadership Launch says it is offering a diverse selection of activities that “introverted and extroverted students can feel comfortable engaging in, ranging from yoga and martial arts to poetry and a nature walk.” The event is free, but registration is required at LeadershipLaunch.org.
The YWCA Seattle King Snohomish is teaming up with trailblazing Olympian Dominique Dawes to present “Winning Within: Resilience, Mental Health & the Next Generation,” which will “explore how athletics and wellness intersect with social justice and identity by centering the experiences of accomplished Black women athletes across generations.” This free virtual event on Tuesday, May 24 at noon is “an intergenerational conversation about athletics and developing resilience, strength, and well-being for our youth and our community.” It’s aimed to help “people of all ages recognize warning signs, coping strategies, facts and statistics around mental health.” Speakers include Gold Medal-winner and member of the “Magnificent Seven” Dominique Dawes and local star athletes Tziarra King (forward, OL Reign) and Amara Cunningham (gymnast, University of Washington.) For more information and registration, visit YWCAWorks.org.
The Edmonds Waterfront Center is partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to offer a Zoom presentation called “Ending the Silence for Students” on Wednesday, May 25 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This virtual presentation helps people of all ages recognize warning signs, find coping strategies, and learn facts and statistics around mental health. Attendees will “hear personal perspectives on living with mental health conditions and learn how you can help reduce the stigma.” You can visit tinyurl.com/3act6zdx for registration and more information. You can learn more about Edmonds Waterfront Center programs and activities at EdmondsWaterfrontCenter.org.
While these next options aren’t mental health resources, I know that starting a hobby during the pandemic helped me look at the COVID numbers per 100k a little less and was a piece of the puzzle as I got help to take care of my own mental health. I started birding and while free time and fancy gear certainly helps, you can see a bald eagle and an iridescent Brewer’s Blackbird while parked at the Alderwood Target more often than not.
There are two free summer activities available locally for those who thrive with social time or physical activity. Planet Fitness is offering a free summer membership to teenagers ages 14 through 19. The free membership lasts from May 16 to Aug. 31 and you can sign up, with the help of an adult, online or in-club. The closest locations, when I searched their site using “Lynnwood, WA” are at the Lake Forest Park Towne Center, in Mill Creek off Bothell-Everett Highway and in Seattle on Aurora near 130th. Details and registration can be found at PlanetFitness.com.
KidsBowlFree.com links kids with bowling alleys that offer two free games each available day. Locally, kids ages 2 to 13 can bowl for free Monday through Thursday this summer at Lynnwood Bowl and Skate. At Kenmore Lanes, kids ages 2 to 15 can bowl free seven days a week. When you search for bowling locations nearby, the specifics can be found once you click each location. There is a FAQ about rental shoes and parental participation as well.
This week, in a decidedly-not-free event, we packed the minivan to watch a movie at Marymoor. We went to sort of shake off the crankiness we accrued from the catch-up we’ve all been playing since one of our crew got COVID ahead of big projects and important tests. Tickets for this event often sell out and the movies start late if you have younger kids, but a car full of people (and your dog, if you like) costs $30 to watch a movie and listen to the audio through your car’s radio. There were cupcakes for sale and a food truck and an option to watch the movie outside of the car or park in a row that allows an open hatch. This was a fun option to watch a movie without being inside a theater and to stay out way too late on a school night. We weren’t really near anyone else besides the person who scanned our ticket and anyone waiting in line for the bathrooms. The location is truly beautiful and we were able to drive right out and get home easily since we headed home around midnight. For dates and titles of the summer offerings, you can visit KingCounty.gov.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.