1-27-2021: Let’s Teach People How To Swim, Not Just Prevent Drowning

After yesterday’s post, I got to thinking abt the “why” behind that district, Clark County’s decision to start opening up schools.
While many of us are in favor of that move…given that it appears needed w the outcomes that district is experiencing – they’re still making the move bc of the terrible outcomes…bc of the deaths.
Change happens, unfortunately, all too often when ppl feel compelled to change, bc of the public pressure they’re receiving.  Many colleges we’ve visited haven’t been able to add more MH staffers unless more suicides have occurred. Many corporate offices we’ve been invited to, reached out bc there was a sudden & unexpected loss of one of their colleagues.
Said another way – in this space, still, most of the change happens & most of the programs are asked for, only when many are drowning, or have sadly already drowned. We aren’t teaching ppl to swim.
I’ve shared this line a bunch, but it’s worth repeating – based on my own lived experience, stress & trauma build cumulatively inside each of us. If we do nothing to release & rewire them, they cause us symptoms & major problems, both mentally & physically.
What kids in school are living thru right now…what we’re all living thru – is a period of great stress & trauma. Our worlds were upended, almost overnight. While that may lead to negative short term MH outcomes – like what we are seeing in Clark County…it unfortunately also leads to negative long term outcomes…bc again, we aren’t teaching ppl to swim.
If someone can float in calm waters, do they need to swim? Maybe not, but the waters don’t stay calm forever. Instead of waiting till ppl are drowning, we need to teach ppl how to swim, so that they’re prepared once the water starts to get even the slightest bit choppy.
Right now, we’re reacting to suicides, & then reactively teaching MH first aid & warning signs of crisis. We instead need to get in front of this. Teach abt the science of stress & trauma. Share stories of common struggles. Explain how to do exercises like STARR, so we can “let some weight off the heavy bags we all carry.” If not, we are only intervening at crisis.

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