Welcome to TC's Village where we share, encourage, learn & work together as a community to improve lives...
For the past several months, we all have been living under uncertain terms and conditions. Some of us have been experiencing difficulties with managing stress, sadness, and feelings of loneliness. Some of us have even experienced trauma such as loss, an increase in domestic violence, or addiction in the home.
The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences reported that as of April, nearly half of the people in the US had been affected by COVID-19. They further stated that there has been more than a 30% increase on prescriptions for anxiety and about a 19% increase in antidepressant prescriptions. To add, substance abuse and mental health emergency hotlines have seen more than a 1000% increase.
Youth are experiencing just as much, if not more struggles with mental health than adults. An article written by Children’s Minnesota made some interesting claims suggesting that social isolation can cause feelings of anxiety, sadness, and depression in young people. They further suggested that the deaths, police brutality, and unrest within the African American community has also taken a toll on youth, particularly teens of color. Our youth, White and African Americans, are experiencing a higher rate in suicide with a greater rise in young African Americans.
Coping with Covid and the civil unrest throughout the country is and will not be an easy task. Although there are a ton of things that can help, I can only list a few suggestions. Take a look, apply what fits your lifestyle, and work on controlling what you can while letting go of what you can’t.
***Create and maintain a daily routine which includes sleep, eating healthy (reduce sugar and caffeine intake), physical activity, and spiritual enhancement
***Decrease your activity on social media and your conversations regarding things that increase anxiety or negative emotions
***Increase your communication with positive people, decrease your communication with negative people – including family and friends
***If you reside with a family, be sure to make time for yourself – unapologetically
***Find a few minutes at least twice a day to meditate, deep-breath, or practice mindfulness techniques
I also suggest Googling some additional ideas. YouTube has a ton of ideas, movies, and other activities that may help with reducing and managing your mental health. If all else fails, find a professional who can assist you and/or anyone you know who may need assistance.
It takes a village…
We have provided coaching and counseling services for free or at low cost to many parents throughout the year. Also something that we would not be able to do without help from TC's Village. Again, we thank you all!
Let's keep doing what we can to make a difference in the lives of young people!
August is Vaccination Awareness Month which for some is a big deal, and depending on which side of the fence you stand on vaccinations may be a good thing or a bad thing.
I took the time to do a little research on the topic and came across a very interesting article on Vaccines.PorCon.org. Now, before I begin sharing the information that I found, I want to say that I am sharing this brief bit of information while standing on both sides of the fence, in other words, regardless of my views I want appear to be as unbiased as possible….my views will not reflect in this blog post.
So, how many of you believe that children should absolutely get all of their shots in order to go to school and partake in social activities with other children??? How many of you believe that it is not necessary??? Do you believe that it is safer for the child and others if they are vaccinated or do you believe that vaccinations put your child at risk of other illnesses??? One more question…is it a law that forces us to vaccinate our children or is it personal/political dogma?
For the sake of not making this post too long (which is a bit difficult considering the importance), I am going to make a “Pros and Cons Arguments” list, then I am going to make a “Did You Know” list. Once I’ve done that then I will end the post by asking….with the information you have now, what would you do? And remember, this information comes from Vaccines.ProCon.org so if there is anything you’d like to know outside of my post please visit their website; it’s a great site with tons of information!
Did You Know:
***All 50 states in the US REQUIRE vaccinations for students in order for them to enter the public schools (there are however 48 states that permit religious exemptions and 19 for philosophical reasons?
***Although all 50 states REQUIRE vaccinations, there are no mandatory federal vaccination laws?
***Center for Disease Control reported that between 1994 and 2014, 732,000 children were saved from death and 322 million illnesses were prevented due to vaccinations?
***There are approximately 30,000 cases of adverse reactions to vaccines reported each year since 1990 and 10-15% of these cases were considered serious (permanent disability, life threatening illness, or death)?
Okay…so there you have it! A list of pros and cons that are the center of today’s argument, as well as a few facts to consider. If you are a parent trying to decide what is best for your child, please do your research. Don’t forget to visit Vaccines.ProCon.org. They share some great information. Making decisions such as this can be the foundation of your child’s health and well-being. Best wishes!
It takes a village! Enjoy today!
Mrs. Tomaro Pilgrim, MSC, MSHS, HS-BCP
When sifting through some of the work that TC did over the past few weeks, I came across images from our time spent with young ladies from G.E.T. (Living Proof Recovery Center). I began to think about how little our youth know about culture not only the culture of their peers, but also their own. We spent about an hour sharing some really interesting information about the holiday, Ramadan, as we were approaching the end and moving into a time where Muslims all over the world would celebrate for up to three days after fasting for 30.
During this talk, I was impressed by the young ladies who participated in the group; the questions, their curiosity and most of all their spirits. These young ladies were a sure reminder (to me) that all is not lost. With all that is going on in this world, in this country, we still have a large number of young people with a spirit of survival, wanting to be successful, wanting to be 'good' and do 'good'. There are still so many of them seeking guidance, looking for someone to point them in the right direction; someone who will help them climb over the mountain of insecurities, and cross the stream of impossibilities. It is because of young people, like those in the images you see, that TC will continue to work hard at fulfilling our mission.....one person, one family, one community at a time. We are confident that our youth will master excellence!
It takes a village! Enjoy today!
Mrs. Tomaro Pilgrim, MSC, MSHS, HS-BCP
In 2013, TC shared a post about an overmedicated society. In the post, we covered stats on the large number of youth taking medication, many of them possibly misdiagnosed. As mentioned in that post the most common reason why medication is provided to youth is to treat ADHD and other disorders alike.
Since that post almost four years ago, I have come across a ton of other blog posts and articles with very similar if not the exact same concerns. This tells me that we’ve not gotten very far in making changes to ensure that our youth are not subjected to overmedicating.
In reviewing the latest news on the topic, it seems that of all our youth those in foster care are getting the worse end of the stick. In 2016, DelawareOnline posted an article that states foster
kids are mediated at a much higher rate than other children, 40% higher to be exact. The Children Defense Organization also posted a great article back in 2015. In their article, they stated that children in foster care are not only more likely to be prescribed medication, but they are more likely to be prescribed multiple medications at very high doses regardless of side effects. What is very scary about this are the possible long term effects that this 40% of children may face later in their lives.
I read a letter that had been written by a 12-year-old boy who told Congress that he was medicated, almost to the point of unconsciousness. The child stated that giving him, “all of these stupid meds was the stupidest thing I’ve ever experienced in foster care and the worst thing anyone could do to foster kids.” It is clear that those of us who work in the field of mental health need to step up and speak out!
In closing, TC recently connected with Elevate Addictions Services in California. This organization is one that I find to be making a difference as it assists in tackling the issues of drug addiction. It is proven that California has the largest foster care system in the country. It is further proven that 10% of the state's doctors are responsible for prescribing medications to 50% of children in care; one in four of these children are prescribed psychotropic drug to control their behavior without treatment.
Included in a post shared on Elevate Addiction Services' blog, you will find more details regarding the state's stats, a brief description of the medication's side effects, and most importantly information regarding an investigation into this topic that may have opened the eyes of those who can really make change (lawmakers). Excitingly, there are currently three bills on the table. We can only hope that the bills are passed and other states will follow in California’s footsteps! Our youth are in extreme danger…we all need to find our voice and use it! Stand up and speak out against overmedicating our children!
It takes a village.....
Mrs. Tomaro Pilgrim, MSC, MSHS, HS-BCP
During one of our groups we shared some very important information with other females between ages 12-18. The response of these young ladies made me realize the importance of the topics addressed. Although it is way too much information to add in a blog post, I decided to try and break it down, adding some of the most important points. Please share this information with the teens in your life; in fact, take it a step further and turn these points into a conversation. There’s a lot that our girls already know, but with the struggles of making right and wrong decisions, talking about and encouraging them on what they know may be more beneficial than you can imagine.
There are several things that are very important when we consider all that it takes to grow into a strong, progressive, successful woman. Of those, we discussed self-esteem, assertiveness, inner/outer beauty and self-care. I will list a portion of the discussion below. Please feel free to share; in fact, we encourage you to share!
Self-esteem is one major key to becoming a successful individual, regardless of how one determines success. Whether or not one has high or low self-esteem will pretty much determine how far they will go in life. Those with higher self-esteem will, more than likely be more successful than those with low self-esteem. Recognizing the level of one’s self-esteem is pretty easy. Have the person (or yourself) answer the following questions, a) how do you feel about yourself; b) what type of behavior do you display when you are in public and/or associating with others; and c) how well do you take care of yourself (eating, exercise, hygiene, etc.)?
Some examples of people with high self-esteem include, a) acting independently; b) taking responsibility for their actions; c) taking pride in setting and reaching goals; d) welcoming new tasks; e) willing to help others, especially without wanting anything in return; and f) behaving positive in negative situations.
Assertiveness is a healthy way of communicating as it allows us speak up about things that may or may not be good or helpful to us. This can be important in all aspects of our lives including school, work & at home.
Assertiveness is something that we all have to work on, constantly. What is most important for us to learn is how to use our assertiveness. Sometimes we can be too assertive (mean, demanding, etc.) and other times we can be under-assertive (think I just made up that word…lol) (too quiet, allowing others to do what they want to us, finding ourselves in situations we are not happy about, etc.). Being assertive in a positive way, meeting in the middle of overly assertive and under-assertive. Examples may include a) giving an opinion or saying how you feel; b) asking for what you want; c) being able to respectfully disagree with others; d) speaking up about ideas and suggestions, even if others may not want to hear them or agree; e) saying NO without feeling guilty; and speaking up for others.
Self-care very, very important to our overall well-being. People in your circle may criticize you for self-care; they may think that you are selfish. However, without taking care of “self” then you risk “self”. Self-care takes practice and continued effort; without it we risk our physical and mental health, and the possibility of having healthy relationships with others.
You can start practicing self-care by creating a self-care plan. Some things to focus on include, a) school/work – engage in regular supervision, positive peer interaction, develop and stick to strict boundaries with peers, and develop knowledge in subjects/professional field; b) physical self-care – exercise regime, regular/enough sleep, healthy eating, rest/breaks at school or work, vacation; c) psychological self-care – keep a reflective journal, hobbies, take time for yourself, hang out with friends/family; d) emotional self-care – supportive friendships, reflect on good things you’ve done throughout the day, again…hang out with friends & don’t forget to take time for yourself; spiritual self-care – meditate, pray, exercise, reflect with friends and/or social/spiritual groups, read/journal; and relationship self-care – prioritize relationships with friends & families, form and nurture professional relationships (school/work).
If you take a good look at all of the topics listed, then you will see that they all play a role in one another. You can’t have high self-esteem if you do not practice self-care, or if you do not consider and build your inner beauty. You can’t build on your inner beauty if you don’t practice self-care which helps to increase your self-esteem. You get the picture! So please….if there is not enough information here, then research each topic. As previously mentioned, share this with the young ladies in your life. It can be a great “injection” of knowledge; and just may be what they need to set them on a path of building a solid foundation as they move into womanhood.
A life today, a nation tomorrow….
Mrs. Tomaro Pilgrim, BA, MSC, MSHS, HS-BCP
To conclude, here are a list of just some areas guaranteed to improve with the use of mindfulness:
*****Attention & behavior support
*****Positive social behaviors
So…with the information shared, please consider a life change for your child….for your family. There is plenty of information out there to support the importance and the benefits of mindfulness. Knowing is only half the battle of us raising healthy, happy and productive children.
Mrs. Tomaro Pilgrim, BA, MSC, MSHS, HS-BCP
WHILE WE ALL ARE EXPERIENCING THE STRUGGLES OF COVID-19, WE CONTINUE TO BE HERE TO SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY