On this second Monday of October, as we celebrate an important federal and cultural holiday, we would also like to bring awareness to World Mental Health Day. Celebrated annually on October 10, recognition of this day presents an opportunity to pause and observe our own mental health.

Why World Mental Health Day Matters

There isn’t a moment in modern history where caring for ourselves and our loved ones, where renewal of our own spirits, our health, and our wellbeing has been more important. If we do not do this, we will not achieve all of our ambitious goals for children, families, staff, and communities. When we care for ourselves, we can be bold and brave leaders. We can learn new skills, adapt more quickly, and focus our limited resources more effectively.

Taking Action

In celebration of Head Start Awareness Month, and on Mental Health Awareness Day, NHSA is thrilled to announce the next chapter in our important new wellness benefit for NHSA members, which is dedicated to improving the overall wellbeing of people working with children, and who do so phenomenally well.

Please join us and our partner Starling Minds in these upcoming events:

  • Supporting Your Staff’s Mental Fitness (Director Orientation) on October 11 at 2 p.m. ET
  • Introducing Starling’s Mental Fitness Program (Staff Orientation) on October 17 at 7 p.m. ET
  • Mental Fitness Mondays on October 17 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Mental Fitness Challenge: Depression and Burnout beginning on October 25 at 7 p.m. ET

In addition to these upcoming events, we are pleased to share this new Mental Health Toolkit for Head Start Staff. I hope these tools and resources continue to support you and your staff and families as NHSA continues to fight for fair compensation, staff appreciation, and robust and unprecedented attention to staff mental health and wellness.

What’s Next

With support from NHSA, researchers from Harvard and Stanford Universities are offering a set of activities designed to increase emotional wellness. All staff who complete the activities will be offered several tokens of appreciation, including training certificates and prepaid gift cards. Your participation in these activities will also help the research team further customize the activities for Head Start staff members like you.

To learn more about the activities, review this FAQ (para español, haga clic aquí). To participate, use this link before October 31. Please consider participating today (one hour max) or finding time in your calendar for later this week. Participating helps not only you but also others who will benefit from the results.

Yasmina Vinci

Yasmina Vinci is the executive director of the National Head Start Association.

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