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Mental Health Actions

Wellbeing Through Belonging and Connection  

In the past year, the World Health Organization has highlighted the importance of our need to connect and belong in our community. They are now calling the rise of loneliness and isolation across the globe an epidemic. Research is clear that our ability to thrive includes a community where we are seen, heard and respected, and where care, play and experiencing joy is prioritized. We also know normalizing mental and emotional wellbeing is an important factor for those in a community to be able to support one another. The following resources are a starting point for the BC community to use as we continue to build a space of Belonging and Connection for our collective Wellbeing. 

Resources for Talking About Mental Health

Awareness of the importance of our mental and emotional wellbeing has come to the forefront in the past few years. Even though many are hyper-connected in our digital world, the experiences of feeling isolated and lonely continue to increase, creating a negative impact on our mental health. Currently the World Health Organization has declared, loneliness a "global health threat". The following resources are opportunities for the BCCS community to utilize to support personal and collective mental wellbeing. 

  • What is mental health? Mental health is our ability to engage with our emotions, thoughts, interactions with others, and the world around us. Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act every day. The best way to protect mental health is to pay attention to it even when you’re feeling ok or even good. Just like with our physical health, we can do things that make us mentally healthier and happier.

  • Mental health conditions are just that — health conditions. They are not character flaws, sources of shame or something to be hidden away. Yet, these types of stigmatized beliefs and attitudes surround mental health conditions. When we better understand that they’re treatable conditions, we’re able to change attitudes, reduce stigma and its harmful effects, and show up in a more informed and compassionate way.

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Resources for Connecting with Yourself

  • Prioritizing time to connect to yourself doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive, and it is important for you to find out what works best for you. Below are a few different ways to engage in self-care from to the Mental Health Coalition:

    • Physical: Notice and address the stress that shows up in your body. Notice what physical activities reduce or alleviate physical pain, tension and mental stress for you. Some common activities are massages, hugging loved ones with their consent, fitness, dance, aromatherapy, rest, and boundary setting.

    • Emotional: Involves tending to your own internal emotional world – especially your mood and feelings. Ways to tend to your emotional self can include connecting with others, naming and acknowledging your emotions, psychotherapy, journaling or creative writing, art, and setting boundaries for your emotional well-being.

    • Cognitive: Engages in activities that are intellectually rewarding and/or stimulating. This can include reading, writing, listening to books or podcasts, watching films, psychotherapy. 

    • Spiritual: This can take many different forms and does not have to be tied to formal religion. It means getting in touch with the less tangible aspects of yourself and the world around you. This can include meditation, breath-work, prayer, connecting with a spiritual or religious community, mantras.

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Resources for Connecting with Others

  • We can all help promote belonging and support connection from individual actions to organizations and policies. Creating more welcoming communities and environments for everyone will support mental health and well-being. Here are some ways to build your social connection muscle: 

    • Small acts of kindness. Find ways to connect with people you see in your community. Ask neighbors about their plans for the weekend, thank the grocery store cashier, ask a customer about their child’s soccer game, say hello to the people you pass on the way to the bus stop. 

    • Prioritize connection in real life. Building friendships will help your mental health thrive. Host a gathering, meet for coffee, send a handwritten note, or call someone – connection reduces stress and promotes mental well-being for both of you. 

    • Volunteer. Helping others creates opportunities for connection and sense of purpose. Volunteering as a family is also a great tradition.

  • Get involved in community design, policies, and actions to influence social connections. For example, communities can prioritize creating walking and gathering spaces, and shared-use spaces to promote social connection.


  • Additional Resources


Resources for Connecting with Nature

  • Nature is a natural stress buffer. Supporting connection to nature for individuals, families, and communities can support: 

    • Physical health – reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones. 

    • Emotional regulation and reduction in behavior problems. 

    • Social connectedness and belonging.

    • Spiritual development. 

    • Education outcomes – improved attention, problem solving, curiosity, imagination, and engagement.

    •  Reduced rates of violence. 


Resources for Support

  • Explore the Brooklyn Center Health Resource Center and get connected to low-cost medical, dental, and mental health services.

    • Mental Health services are provided by The Family Partnership, Arubah Emotional Health, North Psychology Clinic, Cornerstone MN, and POR - Emotional Wellness and independent providers. Appointments are available for free or low cost for insured and uninsured patients at Brooklyn Center Secondary, Brooklyn Center Elementary School, and the Early College Academy. To start the referral process, call 763-450-3385 ext. 5100 or email or visit BCCS Health Resource Center.

  • Mental Health Minnesota offers a warmline, their services are available Monday - Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Call 1-877-404-3190, text Support to 85511, or visit 

  • Talking with someone about your thoughts and feelings can save your life. The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential emotional support for people who need it. If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat 988 connects you with a trained counselor who can help.


Resources for BCCS Staff

Check out these resources available to Brooklyn Center Community Schools staff members. Questions? Contact Michelle Auld at or contact a member of the Human Resources!

1:1 Staff Wellness Appointments

  • Semi- or Private Wellness Appointments are available through the end of the school year and will continue for all staff through the summer. Choose between multiple service modalities to support mental health through nervous system regulation and calming your mind and energy. Appointments may be used as your Monthly Moment of Wellness, and scheduled for as short as 10 minutes or as long as an hour. If you do not find your preferred appointment time, if you have questions about the services available, or have specific well-being needs for which you are interested in accessing information or support, email  

Monthly Moments of Wellness

  • Do you have your Monthly Moment of Wellness scheduled yet for May? Check with your supervisor to confirm the scheduled times each month for you to engage in paid time for your self-care interests and needs. Check out the 30 Ways list for suggestions on how you could use your paid time on campus to rest, restore, and rejuvenate yourself. Research shows that stepping away from tasks, even for 2 - 5 minutes, helps our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Staff Serenity Spaces

  • Visit the Staff Serenity Space in your building and take even five minutes to give all of your systems a break. Notice: What changes are you aware of in your breathing when you sit quietly?  Find the spaces:

    • 5910: In Centaur Beginnings

    • BCE: In the admin offices suite

    • BCS: In room #A105B

New Resource: Employee Assistance Program Wellbeing Advisor for BCCS Staff

  • Sandcreek, our Employee Assistance Program, now includes our very own dedicated, master’s licensed wellbeing advisor for Brooklyn Center Community Schools staff. Any BCCS employee can access these resources! We now have an experienced, dedicated well-being expert to serve as both an advocate and resource during stressful times. John Ostby is available to talk or just listen in person, via phone or a virtual visit and can help you cope with everything from achieving personal goals to family, financial, or relationship concerns. All sessions are completely confidential. Learn more on our staff intranet. 

Additional Educational Resources

This information is brought to you by the Minnesota Department of Health,, and Brooklyn Center Community Schools.