WACO, TX – Back-to-school time can have mental health challenges for students and their caregivers. The Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network, as the Local Mental Health Authority for our six-county service area, offers tips for both students and their caregivers.
We spoke with Katrina Chadwell, a Child & Adolescent Therapist for HOTBHN’s Klaras Center for Families, which provides Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health services for HOTBHN. Katie stresses that making adjustments for both students and caregivers is normal, with several things that caregivers can do for themselves as they adjust to kids going back to school.
“Number one is taking time for self-care,” Chadwell said. “I know schedules are busy, and I know it is really, really hard, but the best way to do this is whenever your kids come home from school, give them some downtime so they can relax and rejuvenate and use that time for themselves and making sure you are doing something for you to refill your cup. It might be reading a book, calling a friend – whatever it is that makes you feel whole again is what you need to do during that time.
“I think second is not just checking in with your kids ’feelings but checking in with your own. It can be really common for caregivers to struggle. Maybe you are feeling excited on day one that kids are going back to school, but there are always going to inevitably be these struggles that are going to pop up throughout the school year. So, I think paying attention to your own feelings is really important.
“And I think number three would be realizing that it is okay to ask for help. I think a lot of caregivers feel like they have failed their children if they can’t take care of them or they cannot fix their problems, but it is okay to ask for help, and honestly, showing kids that they can ask for help and that you can ask for help – it is only going to help them in the long run if they need to ask for something. And, so to know it is okay to ask for help for your kids, and there are a lot of people out here who want to help.
Chadwell goes into greater detail on the Heart of Hearts podcast, dropped exclusively on the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network’s YouTube channel.
For complete information on the services offered by HOTBHN’s Klaras Center for Families, please call (254) 752-7889 or visit our website at www.hotbhn.org.