PeerGalaxy Calendar

Welcome to PeerGalaxy Calendar featuring over 82,000 monthly offerings of FREE telephone- and online-accessible peer support, recovery support + wellness activities!

Over 30+ warmlines plus webinars, workshops, job postings, special events, consumer input opportunities and more.

WE ARE PEER FOR YOU!

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If you have an event to add, email us: webmail@peergalaxy.com

Training Opportunities in July 2020
List Provided Courtesy of State of Oregon, Oregon Health Authority
Click here to download PDF Format, 16 pages

How Events are Sorted:

First, at the top of the list: Disaster Hotline & Oregon Safe + Strong Helpline.

Next in the list: Bundled “All Day” Events for organizations with events happening at multiple times throughout the day and/or in many formats or locations; these are bundled into a single listing to prevent endless scrolling.  Usually these offer a lookup by zip code or other criteria. 

Lastly, Time-Specific Events listed by start time from 12:01am early morning to 11:59pm late night.  Warmlines and places east of Oregon’s time zone tend to start earlier (e.g. 4am in Oregon is 7am in New York).

Jun
26
Sun
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources for Families and Children in Response to the Recent Tragic Events Across the Country
Jun 26 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

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Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

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Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

BRMA – Brown Mamas – The Ultimate List of Support Groups for Black Moms
Jun 26 all-day

 

The Ultimate List of Support Groups for Black Moms

Brown Mamas – Pittsburgh & U.S.  – Brown Mamas, Inc. has been around for seven years in the Pittsburgh region.  Brown Mamas began in the living room of Muffy Mendoza.  What started as 5 moms has grown to over 4000  Our mamas love our Pittsburgh chapter so much that we are expanding.  If you are mom who is ready to not just find her tribe, but to inspire other mothers and be the change she wants to see in her community, click here to learn more about starting your own Brown Mamas chapter.

Black Moms Connect – Canada & U.S.

Mommin’ Society – North Carolina & Online

Moms of Black Boys United – Atlanta & Online

Moms Make It Work – NYC

Mocha Moms, Inc. – U.S. (seriously, everywhere)

Whine & Cheese – 27 Chapters in U.S. (including D.C., PA, South Carolina, New York, etc.)

Black Women Do Breastfeed

Motherwork by Mater Mea – NYC

Beautiful Brown Girls Brunch Club – New Jersey

District Motherhued’s DMV MomTribe – D.C. Metro Area

Soul Food for Your Baby – Hawthorne, Calif.

Black Moms Blog Events – Atlanta, GA

Birthing Beautiful Communities – Cleveland, OH

Tessera Collective – Online, Self-Care Support

Melanin Mommies – Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle –

Not-So Melinated Support Groups for Black Moms

Moms Club

La Leche League

Circle of Moms

Meetup.com

Facebook Support Groups for Black Moms

Black Stay-At-Home Mom Village

Black Moms Connection

Black Moms in Charge

Single Black Mothers

Moms of Black Daughters

Moms of Black Sons

Black Moms in College & Beyond

Breast Milk Donation for Black Moms

Sisterhood for Young Black Moms

KC – Kiva Centers – KIVA Weekly Calendar of Online and Phone Events Mondays through Sundays @ Online Via ZOOM
Jun 26 all-day

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WEEKLY KIVA CALENDAR (ALL PST)
Monday’s
Zumba at 8:00 AM PST
Yoga at 8:30 AM PST
Power of Gratitude at 10:00 AM PST
Living with Loss at 11:00 AM PST
Peers Connecting at 11:00 AM PST
Creative Artwork at 2:00 PM PST
Tuesday’s
QiGong 6:30AM PST
Intro to Writing at 7:00AM PST
Community Gathering at 8:00 AM PST
Aerobics at 8:30 AM PST
Resilience Through Times of Uncertainty at 11:00 AM PST
Photo Club at 12:00 PM PST
Substance Use Peer Support at 1:00 PM
Navigating trauma in a Brave Space at 3:00 PM PST
Wednesday’s
Coffee and Conversation at 7:00AM PST
Zumba at 8:00AM PST
Yoga at 11:30AM PST
Hearing Voices and Alternate Realities, 9:00 PM PST
Wellness Wednesday Peer Support at 10:00AM PST
Coping with Anger at 12:00PM PST
Feel the Music at 1:00PM PST
Breaking Cycles at 3:30PM PST
Thursday’s
Dance Around the World at 8:00PM PST
QiGong 8:30AM PST
Power of Positivity at 11:00 PM PST
Spirituality and Wellness at 12:00 PM PST
Building the Life You Want at 1:00 PM PST
Friday’s
Nocturnal Peer Support at 9:00 AM PST
Dance Movement at 8:00 AM PST
Yoga at 8:30AM PST
Alternatives to Suicide at 11:00 PM PST
Peer Support for Black Communities at 12:00 PM PST
Studio Art and Coloring at 12:00 PM PST
Saturday’s
Sharing Safety Pride Group 8:00 AM PST
Open Topic 11:00 AM PST
Sunday’s
Open Topic at 11:00 AM PST
Coping Skills at 12:00 PM PST
Phone Peer Support
Phone support is available Monday through Friday at 12AM & PM and 7 PM in English.   508-556-4226
Phone support is available at 8:PM for the Latinx Community. 508-556-4226
The Kiva Centers
209 Shrewsbury St.
Southbridge MA 01550
Worcester, MA 01604 The Kiva Centers
346 Main St
Southbridge MA 01550
L4L – Lines For Life – Oregon Helpers Wellness Initiative – Peer Support Meetings – Daily @ Online Via ZOOM
Jun 26 all-day

Sponsor Banner

 

Warmline – Pandemic Go Teams (mobile/clinical) @ Clackamas County – Weekdays and Weekends @ Phone
Jun 26 all-day

Clackamas County has initiated Go Teams to help community members struggling with stress and anxiety during this Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic – available by phone 24/7 (24 hours per day, 7 days per week) at: 503-655-8585.

See article on KPTV at: https://www.kptv.com/news/go-teams-clackamas-co-launches-program-to-help-people-struggling-with-stress-anxiety-during-covid/article_d3383498-897f-11ea-9c43-9b4da6c01dc7.html

“Go Teams” wear protective gear and can go into the community and meet with the person who is struggling and listen to their story.  They are trained in psychological first aid which is described as “a provider going to connect with an individual by really listening and showing empathy,” but “[it] is not therapy or case management…[or] crisis mental health services.”

Excerpt(s) from https://www.clackamas.us/coronavirus/mental-health:

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Mental Health Connection

Call 503-655-8585. We’re here for you.

Hope and connection are important in these trying times. While the Clackamas County Mental Health Center is not open to walk-ins, the phone number is available 24/7. This number is not just a crisis line, the staff there can provide support for anyone who might be worried or anxious about what is going on.

  • Take care of yourself, your friends, and your family
    Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
  • Take a break from the news
    Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body
    Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced mealsexercise regularlyget plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind
    Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others
    While we may not be able to have conversations face to face, we can still reach out and check on each other with the use of technology. Connect with others via phone or text. Use platforms like Facetime or Zoom for video chat or download apps like Marco Polo – a free face-to-face video messaging app – that helps people stay close.
  • Talk about your concerns with a Peer Support Specialist
    This is a person who uses their lived experience of recovery from mental illness and/or addiction, plus skills learned in formal training, to deliver services to promote mind-body recovery and resiliency.

This is a unique time that leaves many parents questioning what to say to their children and how to address the possible emotional fallout from this situation. Here are some suggestions on how to help children cope.

Remember, call the Clackamas County crisis and support line at 503-655-8585 or your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. You are not alone in this. We are here to support you.

YE – YouthERA – Open Registration – Uplift Peer Support Training for Young People @ Register for Details
Jun 26 all-day

 

Uplift Peer Support Training for Young People

Uplift Trainings registration is live!

 

Uplift by Youth Era is a virtual summit for young people ages 14-21. The event is designed to motivate, empower, and support you to change your life and the lives of those around you. The event is packed with engaging lectures, challenging discussions, and impactful activities. You will take yourself to the next level and make a commitment to bettering yourself and those around you.

With funding from OHA, youth aged 14-21 years old, across Oregon will have the opportunity to attend Uplift, a virtual mental health summit created by Youth Era and the University of Oxford. Registration is free and youth across Oregon can sign up  here

Jun
27
Mon
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources for Families and Children in Response to the Recent Tragic Events Across the Country
Jun 27 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

Agency Logo

Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

Agency Logo
Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

BRMA – Brown Mamas – The Ultimate List of Support Groups for Black Moms
Jun 27 all-day

 

The Ultimate List of Support Groups for Black Moms

Brown Mamas – Pittsburgh & U.S.  – Brown Mamas, Inc. has been around for seven years in the Pittsburgh region.  Brown Mamas began in the living room of Muffy Mendoza.  What started as 5 moms has grown to over 4000  Our mamas love our Pittsburgh chapter so much that we are expanding.  If you are mom who is ready to not just find her tribe, but to inspire other mothers and be the change she wants to see in her community, click here to learn more about starting your own Brown Mamas chapter.

Black Moms Connect – Canada & U.S.

Mommin’ Society – North Carolina & Online

Moms of Black Boys United – Atlanta & Online

Moms Make It Work – NYC

Mocha Moms, Inc. – U.S. (seriously, everywhere)

Whine & Cheese – 27 Chapters in U.S. (including D.C., PA, South Carolina, New York, etc.)

Black Women Do Breastfeed

Motherwork by Mater Mea – NYC

Beautiful Brown Girls Brunch Club – New Jersey

District Motherhued’s DMV MomTribe – D.C. Metro Area

Soul Food for Your Baby – Hawthorne, Calif.

Black Moms Blog Events – Atlanta, GA

Birthing Beautiful Communities – Cleveland, OH

Tessera Collective – Online, Self-Care Support

Melanin Mommies – Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle –

Not-So Melinated Support Groups for Black Moms

Moms Club

La Leche League

Circle of Moms

Meetup.com

Facebook Support Groups for Black Moms

Black Stay-At-Home Mom Village

Black Moms Connection

Black Moms in Charge

Single Black Mothers

Moms of Black Daughters

Moms of Black Sons

Black Moms in College & Beyond

Breast Milk Donation for Black Moms

Sisterhood for Young Black Moms

L4L – Lines For Life – Oregon Helpers Wellness Initiative – Peer Support Meetings – Daily @ Online Via ZOOM
Jun 27 all-day

Sponsor Banner

 

Warmline – Pandemic Go Teams (mobile/clinical) @ Clackamas County – Weekdays and Weekends @ Phone
Jun 27 all-day

Clackamas County has initiated Go Teams to help community members struggling with stress and anxiety during this Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic – available by phone 24/7 (24 hours per day, 7 days per week) at: 503-655-8585.

See article on KPTV at: https://www.kptv.com/news/go-teams-clackamas-co-launches-program-to-help-people-struggling-with-stress-anxiety-during-covid/article_d3383498-897f-11ea-9c43-9b4da6c01dc7.html

“Go Teams” wear protective gear and can go into the community and meet with the person who is struggling and listen to their story.  They are trained in psychological first aid which is described as “a provider going to connect with an individual by really listening and showing empathy,” but “[it] is not therapy or case management…[or] crisis mental health services.”

Excerpt(s) from https://www.clackamas.us/coronavirus/mental-health:

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Mental Health Connection

Call 503-655-8585. We’re here for you.

Hope and connection are important in these trying times. While the Clackamas County Mental Health Center is not open to walk-ins, the phone number is available 24/7. This number is not just a crisis line, the staff there can provide support for anyone who might be worried or anxious about what is going on.

  • Take care of yourself, your friends, and your family
    Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
  • Take a break from the news
    Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body
    Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced mealsexercise regularlyget plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind
    Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others
    While we may not be able to have conversations face to face, we can still reach out and check on each other with the use of technology. Connect with others via phone or text. Use platforms like Facetime or Zoom for video chat or download apps like Marco Polo – a free face-to-face video messaging app – that helps people stay close.
  • Talk about your concerns with a Peer Support Specialist
    This is a person who uses their lived experience of recovery from mental illness and/or addiction, plus skills learned in formal training, to deliver services to promote mind-body recovery and resiliency.

This is a unique time that leaves many parents questioning what to say to their children and how to address the possible emotional fallout from this situation. Here are some suggestions on how to help children cope.

Remember, call the Clackamas County crisis and support line at 503-655-8585 or your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. You are not alone in this. We are here to support you.

YE – YouthERA – Open Registration – Uplift Peer Support Training for Young People @ Register for Details
Jun 27 all-day

 

Uplift Peer Support Training for Young People

Uplift Trainings registration is live!

 

Uplift by Youth Era is a virtual summit for young people ages 14-21. The event is designed to motivate, empower, and support you to change your life and the lives of those around you. The event is packed with engaging lectures, challenging discussions, and impactful activities. You will take yourself to the next level and make a commitment to bettering yourself and those around you.

With funding from OHA, youth aged 14-21 years old, across Oregon will have the opportunity to attend Uplift, a virtual mental health summit created by Youth Era and the University of Oxford. Registration is free and youth across Oregon can sign up  here

Warmline – ROO – Reach Out Oregon w OFSN – Oregon Family Support Network – (833) REACH-OR / (833) 732-2467 – Weekdays – 12-7pm (PST) @ phone
Jun 27 @ 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm

 

roologo

Reach Out Oregon / Oregon Family Support Network

Toll-Free Parent Warmline: 1-833-REACH-OR / 1-833-732-2467

Weekdays 12pm-7pm PST except holidays

Welcome to Reach Out Oregon!

Parents know how it can be lonely, frightening and isolating to care for a young person experiencing emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges. It can be hard to figure out where and how to reach out for help and information. Most of us feel disoriented when trying to find needed support for what our family is facing.  Shame and stigma surrounding these issues can make it even more challenging.

As caregivers ourselves, we have direct lived experience navigating challenges on behalf of our children and families. And as a community, we have much to offer one another. This is what Reach Out Oregon is all about, a supportive community where you will find:

  • Inspiration
  • Connection
  • Compassion
  • Support

  Family Self-Care during COVID-19

  • Have a special friendly online conversation about Family Self-Care during COVID-19.
  • More events coming, stay tuned.
  • Learn about fun activities to bring back to your family.
  • If you’d like to continue the Family Self-Care discussion or have ideas you’d like to share, please join our discussion forum: https://www.reachoutoregon.org/forums/forum/self-care/

Discussion Forum

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/discussions/

Family Self Care Discussion:

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/forums/forum/self-care/

Reach Out Oregon Website

https://www.reachoutoregon.org

Crisis Support

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/crisis-support/

Listening Support

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/listening-support/

Resource Support

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/resources/

Email

info@reachoutoregon.org

PA – Project ABLE – Wellness 101 with Deb – Mondays @ Online via Zoom
Jun 27 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

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Project ABLE (A Better Life Experience) offering virtual online peer support activities via Zoom.

1pm-2pm PST | Wellness 101 (CEU may be available)

Learn about the 8 dimensions and put them into practice!

 

Zoom Link for scheduled event times:

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/5433781708

Or call 543-378-1708

Website:

https://www.projectable.org

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ProjectABLEInc/

 

Jun
28
Tue
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources for Families and Children in Response to the Recent Tragic Events Across the Country
Jun 28 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

Agency Logo

Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

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Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

BRMA – Brown Mamas – The Ultimate List of Support Groups for Black Moms
Jun 28 all-day

 

The Ultimate List of Support Groups for Black Moms

Brown Mamas – Pittsburgh & U.S.  – Brown Mamas, Inc. has been around for seven years in the Pittsburgh region.  Brown Mamas began in the living room of Muffy Mendoza.  What started as 5 moms has grown to over 4000  Our mamas love our Pittsburgh chapter so much that we are expanding.  If you are mom who is ready to not just find her tribe, but to inspire other mothers and be the change she wants to see in her community, click here to learn more about starting your own Brown Mamas chapter.

Black Moms Connect – Canada & U.S.

Mommin’ Society – North Carolina & Online

Moms of Black Boys United – Atlanta & Online

Moms Make It Work – NYC

Mocha Moms, Inc. – U.S. (seriously, everywhere)

Whine & Cheese – 27 Chapters in U.S. (including D.C., PA, South Carolina, New York, etc.)

Black Women Do Breastfeed

Motherwork by Mater Mea – NYC

Beautiful Brown Girls Brunch Club – New Jersey

District Motherhued’s DMV MomTribe – D.C. Metro Area

Soul Food for Your Baby – Hawthorne, Calif.

Black Moms Blog Events – Atlanta, GA

Birthing Beautiful Communities – Cleveland, OH

Tessera Collective – Online, Self-Care Support

Melanin Mommies – Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle –

Not-So Melinated Support Groups for Black Moms

Moms Club

La Leche League

Circle of Moms

Meetup.com

Facebook Support Groups for Black Moms

Black Stay-At-Home Mom Village

Black Moms Connection

Black Moms in Charge

Single Black Mothers

Moms of Black Daughters

Moms of Black Sons

Black Moms in College & Beyond

Breast Milk Donation for Black Moms

Sisterhood for Young Black Moms

L4L – Lines For Life – Oregon Helpers Wellness Initiative – Peer Support Meetings – Daily @ Online Via ZOOM
Jun 28 all-day

Sponsor Banner

 

Warmline – Pandemic Go Teams (mobile/clinical) @ Clackamas County – Weekdays and Weekends @ Phone
Jun 28 all-day

Clackamas County has initiated Go Teams to help community members struggling with stress and anxiety during this Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic – available by phone 24/7 (24 hours per day, 7 days per week) at: 503-655-8585.

See article on KPTV at: https://www.kptv.com/news/go-teams-clackamas-co-launches-program-to-help-people-struggling-with-stress-anxiety-during-covid/article_d3383498-897f-11ea-9c43-9b4da6c01dc7.html

“Go Teams” wear protective gear and can go into the community and meet with the person who is struggling and listen to their story.  They are trained in psychological first aid which is described as “a provider going to connect with an individual by really listening and showing empathy,” but “[it] is not therapy or case management…[or] crisis mental health services.”

Excerpt(s) from https://www.clackamas.us/coronavirus/mental-health:

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Mental Health Connection

Call 503-655-8585. We’re here for you.

Hope and connection are important in these trying times. While the Clackamas County Mental Health Center is not open to walk-ins, the phone number is available 24/7. This number is not just a crisis line, the staff there can provide support for anyone who might be worried or anxious about what is going on.

  • Take care of yourself, your friends, and your family
    Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
  • Take a break from the news
    Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body
    Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced mealsexercise regularlyget plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind
    Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others
    While we may not be able to have conversations face to face, we can still reach out and check on each other with the use of technology. Connect with others via phone or text. Use platforms like Facetime or Zoom for video chat or download apps like Marco Polo – a free face-to-face video messaging app – that helps people stay close.
  • Talk about your concerns with a Peer Support Specialist
    This is a person who uses their lived experience of recovery from mental illness and/or addiction, plus skills learned in formal training, to deliver services to promote mind-body recovery and resiliency.

This is a unique time that leaves many parents questioning what to say to their children and how to address the possible emotional fallout from this situation. Here are some suggestions on how to help children cope.

Remember, call the Clackamas County crisis and support line at 503-655-8585 or your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. You are not alone in this. We are here to support you.

YE – YouthERA – Open Registration – Uplift Peer Support Training for Young People @ Register for Details
Jun 28 all-day

 

Uplift Peer Support Training for Young People

Uplift Trainings registration is live!

 

Uplift by Youth Era is a virtual summit for young people ages 14-21. The event is designed to motivate, empower, and support you to change your life and the lives of those around you. The event is packed with engaging lectures, challenging discussions, and impactful activities. You will take yourself to the next level and make a commitment to bettering yourself and those around you.

With funding from OHA, youth aged 14-21 years old, across Oregon will have the opportunity to attend Uplift, a virtual mental health summit created by Youth Era and the University of Oxford. Registration is free and youth across Oregon can sign up  here

ROCC – Recovery Outreach Community Center – Creativity Recovery with Lorretta – Tuesdays @ Online via Zoom
Jun 28 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

 

ROCC Salem presents online peer support

Creativity Recovery (Sense of Identity) with Lorretta

Tuesday 12–1pm PST

This discussion/art activity group is based on the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Participants are working on individualized plans to recover from obstacles to their creativity, discussion revolves around 10 important areas of wellness.
Click link below to attend group.

You will be asked to register on ZOOM. It’s free and fast!

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/420276059

ZOOM Meeting ID:420 276 059

ROCC has peer support by phone and other online groups, too!

Do you need someone to talk to?

We’re available for anyone to call peer support no matter what!

Call anytime between 11am – 7pm PST 7 days per week, weekdays and weekends.

971-718-8668 (MONDAY-THURSDAY)
971-718-0967 (TUESDAY-FRIDAY)
971-718-8670 (FRIDAY-MONDAY)

To learn about ROCC’s Online Groups visit:
http://www.roccsalem.org/online-groups

ROCC Mission Statement

Recovery Outreach Community Center (ROCC), is a safe place for people recovering from or who are interested in mental health, addiction, trauma, or other related issues. Our mission is to empower and respect others through peer-led service and peer-to-peer support. We want to encourage self-direction, personal responsibility and hope, by providing a safe place for people to share story and heal.

ROCC Principles

Principle I

The source of ROCC’s power is peer-to-peer relations. By sharing story and experiences, we lead each other into hope.

Principle II

Self-direction and personal recovery is ROCC’s goal. To be able to lead, control and choose your own recovery path will achieve a self-determined life.

Principle III

ROCC requires respectful conduct and encourages the voice of all. We must instill hope in the individual while fulfilling the values of the group.

ROCC Website:

https://www.roccsalem.org

ROCC Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/ROCCSALEM/

ROCC Facebook Group for Chat:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/232944234571700/

Jun
29
Wed
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources for Families and Children in Response to the Recent Tragic Events Across the Country
Jun 29 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

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Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

Agency Logo
Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

BRMA – Brown Mamas – The Ultimate List of Support Groups for Black Moms
Jun 29 all-day

 

The Ultimate List of Support Groups for Black Moms

Brown Mamas – Pittsburgh & U.S.  – Brown Mamas, Inc. has been around for seven years in the Pittsburgh region.  Brown Mamas began in the living room of Muffy Mendoza.  What started as 5 moms has grown to over 4000  Our mamas love our Pittsburgh chapter so much that we are expanding.  If you are mom who is ready to not just find her tribe, but to inspire other mothers and be the change she wants to see in her community, click here to learn more about starting your own Brown Mamas chapter.

Black Moms Connect – Canada & U.S.

Mommin’ Society – North Carolina & Online

Moms of Black Boys United – Atlanta & Online

Moms Make It Work – NYC

Mocha Moms, Inc. – U.S. (seriously, everywhere)

Whine & Cheese – 27 Chapters in U.S. (including D.C., PA, South Carolina, New York, etc.)

Black Women Do Breastfeed

Motherwork by Mater Mea – NYC

Beautiful Brown Girls Brunch Club – New Jersey

District Motherhued’s DMV MomTribe – D.C. Metro Area

Soul Food for Your Baby – Hawthorne, Calif.

Black Moms Blog Events – Atlanta, GA

Birthing Beautiful Communities – Cleveland, OH

Tessera Collective – Online, Self-Care Support

Melanin Mommies – Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle –

Not-So Melinated Support Groups for Black Moms

Moms Club

La Leche League

Circle of Moms

Meetup.com

Facebook Support Groups for Black Moms

Black Stay-At-Home Mom Village

Black Moms Connection

Black Moms in Charge

Single Black Mothers

Moms of Black Daughters

Moms of Black Sons

Black Moms in College & Beyond

Breast Milk Donation for Black Moms

Sisterhood for Young Black Moms

L4L – Lines For Life – Oregon Helpers Wellness Initiative – Peer Support Meetings – Daily @ Online Via ZOOM
Jun 29 all-day

Sponsor Banner

 

Warmline – Pandemic Go Teams (mobile/clinical) @ Clackamas County – Weekdays and Weekends @ Phone
Jun 29 all-day

Clackamas County has initiated Go Teams to help community members struggling with stress and anxiety during this Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic – available by phone 24/7 (24 hours per day, 7 days per week) at: 503-655-8585.

See article on KPTV at: https://www.kptv.com/news/go-teams-clackamas-co-launches-program-to-help-people-struggling-with-stress-anxiety-during-covid/article_d3383498-897f-11ea-9c43-9b4da6c01dc7.html

“Go Teams” wear protective gear and can go into the community and meet with the person who is struggling and listen to their story.  They are trained in psychological first aid which is described as “a provider going to connect with an individual by really listening and showing empathy,” but “[it] is not therapy or case management…[or] crisis mental health services.”

Excerpt(s) from https://www.clackamas.us/coronavirus/mental-health:

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Mental Health Connection

Call 503-655-8585. We’re here for you.

Hope and connection are important in these trying times. While the Clackamas County Mental Health Center is not open to walk-ins, the phone number is available 24/7. This number is not just a crisis line, the staff there can provide support for anyone who might be worried or anxious about what is going on.

  • Take care of yourself, your friends, and your family
    Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
  • Take a break from the news
    Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body
    Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced mealsexercise regularlyget plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind
    Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others
    While we may not be able to have conversations face to face, we can still reach out and check on each other with the use of technology. Connect with others via phone or text. Use platforms like Facetime or Zoom for video chat or download apps like Marco Polo – a free face-to-face video messaging app – that helps people stay close.
  • Talk about your concerns with a Peer Support Specialist
    This is a person who uses their lived experience of recovery from mental illness and/or addiction, plus skills learned in formal training, to deliver services to promote mind-body recovery and resiliency.

This is a unique time that leaves many parents questioning what to say to their children and how to address the possible emotional fallout from this situation. Here are some suggestions on how to help children cope.

Remember, call the Clackamas County crisis and support line at 503-655-8585 or your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. You are not alone in this. We are here to support you.

YE – YouthERA – Open Registration – Uplift Peer Support Training for Young People @ Register for Details
Jun 29 all-day

 

Uplift Peer Support Training for Young People

Uplift Trainings registration is live!

 

Uplift by Youth Era is a virtual summit for young people ages 14-21. The event is designed to motivate, empower, and support you to change your life and the lives of those around you. The event is packed with engaging lectures, challenging discussions, and impactful activities. You will take yourself to the next level and make a commitment to bettering yourself and those around you.

With funding from OHA, youth aged 14-21 years old, across Oregon will have the opportunity to attend Uplift, a virtual mental health summit created by Youth Era and the University of Oxford. Registration is free and youth across Oregon can sign up  here

Jun
30
Thu
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources for Families and Children in Response to the Recent Tragic Events Across the Country
Jun 30 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

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Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

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Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.