By Leah Doughty, LMHCA – April 30, 2024

The term “grit,” coined by psychologist Angela Duckworth, is characterized by a combination of resilience, determination, and persistence, even in the face of setbacks and obstacles.

In the face of all of life’s challenges, helping your child develop grit is more important than ever. However, it is not necessarily comfortable for parents. It can be easier to “fix” than to teach.

Parents may find it uncomfortable to let their child experience failure and disappointment, so they resort to rescuing, an aspect of helicopter parenting. Helicopter parenting refers to a “hover” style of parenting that is highly protective. While helicopter parents typically have good intentions and may believe they are acting in their children’s best interests, research suggests that this style of parenting can have negative consequences. Children of helicopter parents are more likely to struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, and a lack of resilience; in other words, they lack grit.

The following are some ways to help your child develop grit:

  1. Instead of jumping in to rescue your child, let them experience setbacks and failures while showing them support and encouragement. Tell them you believe in them and ask them what they learned from the experience. Encourage your kids to try again, be persistent, and not give up.
  2. Help your child set goals, take risks, and celebrate small victories and milestones along the way to larger goals.
  3. Demonstrate your trust in them by giving them space to problem-solve and overcome obstacles on their own.
  4. Talk with them about your own experiences of overcoming challenges through hard work and determination.
  5. Encourage your child to stick with activities when they become challenging or frustrating.
  1. And finally, model resilience and grit in your own life.

We can’t protect our kids from all of life’s hardships. Parental qualities that foster grit can be challenging but come with great rewards for our kids in the long run.

By fostering a growth-oriented mindset, you can help your child develop grit, setting them up for success in school, relationships, and life.

By Paige Byrd, MSW, LSW – April 18, 2024

Self-care is a vital part of our everyday lives. It promotes healthy living, reduces stress, increases relaxation, and improves our overall well-being. Self-care can help your mental and physical health by boosting your mood and increasing your activity rate.

The fun part about self-care is that you can incorporate it at any time of the day. Just five minutes of self-care can boost your mood and increase your dopamine levels! According to the National Institute of Mental Health, self-care means creating time to do things to help improve your life and increase your well-being. Your mental health is important, so taking the extra step to improve it can have a huge impact on your daily living.

Self-care helps you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Some great self-care tips include incorporating at least 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine, eating healthy meals, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, setting goals and priorities, and staying positive!

There are numerous ways to add self-care activities to your day. Some ideas include meditation, reading, painting, dancing, listening to relaxing music, taking a bath, going on a walk, watching your favorite show, and getting enough sleep. The list is endless. Creating a routine to incorporate self-care can reduce the percentage rate of burnout.

According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, burnout is defined as “physical, emotional or mental exhaustion, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes towards oneself and others.” Burnout occurs when a person overworks or becomes overly stressed in their daily lives.

When you are constantly on the go with a million different tasks and activities, it is important to take some time for yourself, to do something for you that allows you to breathe. I like to take fifteen minutes in the morning, as soon as I wake up, to do a quick meditation. This helps me start my day off in a positive mindset. I also incorporate breathing activities in between client sessions to ground myself throughout the day.

Self-care is also a great tool to share with others. It allows more people to be aware of its benefits. Remember, self-care is for everyone! It leads to a happier and healthier way of living. 

Take a moment to pause and reflect on three activities you enjoy doing. Now find a time in your day, even five minutes, maybe an hour, where you can pause for a moment and put yourself first. Got that? Now do it! Start small. Building a routine or adding in something that is unusual may seem challenging at first, but once you start, it will get easier! The more you practice, the easier it gets, so start now! Do yourself a favor, start incorporating self-care into your daily lives. You will be glad you did!

By Hannah Smith-Quirey, MSW, LCSW – April 10, 2024 –

Boundaries. They are a necessary part of any relationship. Boundaries enhance our well-being in so many ways. So why do we have so many feelings around setting healthy and effective boundaries? And how do you go about setting the boundaries you need or want in your life?

There are so many benefits to putting boundaries in place. It clearly communicates to others what we need and want. Setting boundaries decreases our stress level and prevents us from experiencing burnout. Boundaries enhance our relationships, both personally and professionally. They are important for self-care and improve our emotional health.

There are many reasons people don’t set boundaries. Society sends a message that politeness is important and that somehow creating boundaries is rude. People don’t want to disappoint others or not have their acceptance. Many are scared to set boundaries and may feel like they don’t have the right or don’t deserve to protect themselves.

The idea of creating and identifying what boundaries you want to set may feel overwhelming at times. First, you must determine what your values are and what matters to you. You need to be able to identify what your limitations are. You must begin to understand that the word “no” is a complete sentence. Boundaries should be stated assertively and directly. You also think about and practice how you would respond to boundary violations.

What is the difference between setting healthy boundaries versus being controlling? Setting healthy boundaries involves our own behavior, choices, and actions, while being controlling seeks to change the behavior, choices, or actions of others.

It is important to realize that your voice, needs, and wants matter. Boundaries are unique and specific to each person. It is also important to remember that boundaries are flexible. We can adjust and change them as we go.

A big part of setting healthy boundaries involves making sure you are consistent when you respond to violations of your boundaries. Remember, other people do not have to like or agree with your boundaries. Eventually, you will start to feel less guilty or not feel guilty at all when setting a boundary. You will stop letting others take advantage of you and find that you are not feeling responsible for other people. Setting healthy boundaries also includes not feeling offended by the boundaries that others choose to set.

Boundaries are necessary for your well-being. You will have to know who you are and what you value in order to set effective boundaries. Even though you may have difficulty or struggle to set them, you should still work to make sure you put them in place. We all have different needs and wants, and that is okay. 

Make sure you are indeed setting boundaries and not trying to control others around you. Boundaries aren’t easy but will, in the end, benefit you and those around you.

Grant to Provide Expanded Mental Health Support and Substance Misuse Prevention for Morgan County Youth

The Kendrick Foundation continues to invest in the health and well-being of Morgan County youth and families. A grant award of $100,000 was recently presented to Youth First, Inc. to provide mental health support and substance misuse prevention.  

The Kendrick Foundation invests in conditions that support the physical and mental health of all Morgan County residents and is leading health initiatives to address mental health, substance misuse, physical activity and nutrition.

Keylee Wright, Executive Director of the Kendrick Foundation, states, “We are more committed than ever to providing additional mental health services, resources and supports to our communities, schools, families, and youth during this unprecedented time of need. Since 2018, the Kendrick Foundation has invested in Youth First programs, and we continue to see results. We are truly grateful for the work of Youth First and the support of our Morgan County schools to make these vital programs and services more accessible for our youth and families.”

The grant to Youth First will allow for continued mental health support for students in selected Martinsville and Mooresville schools. Youth First partners with 125 schools across 14 Indiana counties to embed prevention programs and over 90 skilled mental health professionals (primarily master’s level social workers) in school buildings, where they provide extra mental health support for students and prevention coaching for parents and teachers. Youth First Mental Health Professionals build caring relationships, foster readiness for positive change, and boost resiliency along with other valuable life skills.

Research shows these protective factors are the keys to effective prevention of negative outcomes for young people. The organization’s positive work and strategies are driving growth, with more schools seeking Youth First’s help to address the growing need for mental health supports for students.

By Cameron Williams, Youth First, Inc. – April 4, 2024

Indiana has a youth mental health crisis. To set the stage, let’s address a few facts.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most current Youth Risk Behavior Survey data (1991-2021) has found that 46.9 percent of Indiana high school students have “felt sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 or more weeks in a row.” The same survey found that over 22 percent of Indiana’s high school students seriously considered suicide, with 17 percent of them making a plan and 10.2 percent of Indiana high school students actually attempting suicide.

As indicated by the data, our youth are having a mental health crisis that has worsened every year since the Covid-19 pandemic. An American Federation of Teachers survey conducted in 2020 found that 95 percent of educators agreed that “social and emotional support for students has never been more important than it is now.”

Unfortunately, in 2022 the Indiana Youth Institute reported that the state of Indiana has the worst counselor to student ratio in the United States, at 628 students per one counselor. The ratios for other mental health professionals are significantly worse, with only one psychologist for every 2,698 students and only one social worker for every 2,788 students.

I’m not presenting these statistics to create fear or make the situation seem hopeless. Rather, I hope to clarify just how serious the state of Indiana’s youth mental health crisis truly is, with the hope that it will inspire some change. Thankfully, there are actions that can improve the current situation.

Parents and community members can ask their local schools how many counselors, social workers, or psychologists are available for students to see. They can advocate for mental health training and/or specifically trauma-informed-care training for the teachers and school staff. Parents and community members can also present the statistics found in this article to their local school board, politicians, and governing bodies. If these statistics are presented with information about what services and mental health professionals are available at the school system in their community, a compelling case can be made to improve or increase the services available to the students and youth of that community.

Youth First, Inc. has done an outstanding job of providing services and improving the lives of students at Indiana schools, but there are still many areas in the state of Indiana that currently do not have access to social workers or other mental health professionals in schools. Sharing the relevant data and information that accurately portrays the state’s youth mental health crisis and advocating for change can make a difference for Indiana’s youth. If change is enacted now to save our youth, Indiana can foundationally alter its future course and build the road to a better, brighter future.