May is Mental Health Awareness Month. When I looked around at some statistics that would lead to local free resources, it is clear that the need is rife and that the pandemic has “exacerbated existing inequalities in mental health.” Many of us can see the negative effects, although some have found a better fit with distance learning, so I won’t say much about that. Some of the results were articles showing signs that your child might need a little extra help and some of the virtual and in-person events taking place this month will address those signs as well.
The Edmonds School District continues to offer tips and online resources, including Care Solace Care Concierge who is available 24/7 at 888-515-0595. Care Solace is a free and confidential service offered by Edmonds School District to students, staff and their families that “can help you quickly find treatment options that are tailored to your needs, regardless of the circumstances.” You can go to caresolace.com/site/esd and you can search yourself or get help via video chat, email or phone by clicking ‘Book an Appointment’. You can find all Edmonds School District resources at Edmonds.Wednet.edu.
Locally, there are multiple upcoming Mental Health Awareness events for both students and adults.
The Mukilteo-based nonprofit Leadership Launch lets their students plan a service project that benefits the community in a way that makes sense to the students. This year’s project, “Emotion Commotion: Connecting and Leading Through Mental Wellness and Self-Expression,” will take place on 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 8th grade through college students and “reflects the collective resolve of the students to feel disconnected from each other and the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The event will feature keynote speakers (including Councilor Mohamed Abdi of Tukwila) and students will also be able to attend workshops focused on the topics of “mental wellbeing through movement, self-expression through art, and leadership through service and connection to the community.” Leadership Launch says it offers a diverse selection of activities that “introverted and extroverted students can enjoy, ranging from yoga and martial arts to poetry and a walk in nature.” The event is free, but registration is required at LeadershipLaunch.org.
The YWCA Seattle King Snohomish teams up with trailblazing Olympian Dominique Dawes to present “Winning Within: Resilience, Mental Health & the Next Generation,” which explores how athletics and wellness interact with social justice and identity through the experiences of experienced black females. athletes from generation to generation.” This free virtual event on Tuesday, May 24 at noon is “an intergenerational conversation about athletics and developing resilience, strength and wellness for our youth and our community.” It aims to “help people of all ages recognize warning signs, coping strategies, facts and statistics about mental health.” Speakers include gold medal winner and “Magnificent Seven” member Dominique Dawes and local star athletes Tziarra King (striker, OL Reign) and Amara Cunningham (gymnast, University of Washington. For more information and registration, visit YWCAWorks. org.
The Edmonds Waterfront Center has partnered 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 PM to 7:30 PM. This virtual presentation helps people of all ages recognize warning signs, find coping strategies, and learn facts and statistics about mental health. Participants will “hear personal perspectives on living with mental illness and learn how you can help reduce 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 are not mental health aids, I know that starting a hobby during the pandemic helped me see the COVID numbers per 100k a little less and was one piece of the puzzle as I got help to manage my own mental care. Health. I started birdwatching and while free time and nice gear certainly help, more often than not you can spot a bald eagle and an iridescent Brewer’s Blackbird parked at the Alderwood Target.
There are two free onsite summer activities available for those who thrive on social time or physical activity. Planet Fitness offers a free summer membership for teens ages 14 to 19. Free membership runs from May 16 to August 31, and you can sign up online or at the club, with the help of an adult. The closest locations, when I searched their site with “Lynnwood, WA” are at the Lake Forest Park Towne Center, in Mill Creek off the Bothell-Everett Highway, and in Seattle on Aurora at 130th. Details and registration can be found at PlanetFitness.com.
KidsBowlFree.com connects kids to bowling alleys that offer two free games every day. Locally, kids ages 2 to 13 can bowl for free at Lynnwood Bowl and Skate Monday through Thursday this summer. At Kenmore Lanes, children aged 2 to 15 can bowl for free seven days a week. When you search for bowling locations nearby, you can find the details once you click on each location. There is also an FAQ about rental shoes and parent participation.
This week, at a decidedly not-free event, we packed up the minibus to watch a movie in Marymoor. We were going to shake off the grumpiness we’d been getting from the catching up we’ve all been playing since one of our crew members got COVID for major projects and important tests. Tickets to this event often sell out and the movies start late if you have younger children, but a car full of people (and your dog, if you will) costs $30 to watch a movie and listen to the audio through the car radio. There were cupcakes for sale and a food truck and an option to watch the movie outside the car or park in a row that allows an open hatch. This was a nice option for watching a movie without being in a theater and staying out way too late on a school night. We weren’t really around anyone else except the person who scanned our ticket and everyone queuing for the restrooms. The location is truly beautiful and we were able to drive straight home and go home easily, as we were going home around midnight. For summer offer dates and titles, visit KingCounty.gov.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, a mother of two boys from Edmonds, is always looking for a nice place to take the kids, leaving them tired enough to go to bed on time.