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Top 10 Tips with Dr. Kensa Gunter: Mental Well-Being for Youth Athletes



1) Although we need to remain physically distant to help stop the spread, we need to remain socially together. Maintain a sense of community by reaching out to people so no one feels alone.

2) Utilize virtual workouts, though the experience may be different, being able to see each other creates a social connection. Also, check out apps such as Headspace or Calm to practice meditation and mental training to teach kids how to control their positive and negative thoughts.

3) Coaches can get involved in leadership in a different way by talking about character-building and the identity their athletes hold outside of their sport.

"1 in 6 youth in the United States experience a diagnosable condition regarding their mental health. This is when some of these mental health tips and physical activity can help tremendously."

- Dr. Kensa Gunter

To avoid becoming overwhelmed, parents can create schedules to build in time for homeschooling, breaks from work, and times to exercise.

5) When young kids are unable to express themselves, consider using emotion charts online, movies, or their favorite stuffed animals to help them tell you how they’re feeling.

6) To manage the uncertainty of life right now, shift from a what-if mindset to a what-is mindset to allow yourself to focus on what’s happening now and what you do have control over.

7) Some youth experiencing a mental health condition can use self-care strategies such as exercise and practicing gratitude to help boost their mood and manage stress.

"I would encourage parents to think about how they feel when someone goes into "fix it" mode with you. Instead, this is an opportunity to normalize the range of feelings and emotions that your children will experience in their lifetime."

- Dr. Kensa Gunter

Parents can normalize their children’s range of feelings and the emotions they will experience in their lifetime by allowing them to have a reaction, and then working with them to find a solution.

9) Create technology-free zones for the family to be together without distractions to help limit mental health conditions. Also, instead of having school 100% virtual, consider printing out worksheets or buying a physical copy of eBooks to break up a child’s screen time.

10) Check in with your kids by having discussions about social justice issues to understand how they’re making sense of everything in their world. This also gives them permission to talk about anything else emotionally affecting them.