Parents in the District of Columbia report experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety as they seek to manage the demands of parenting responsibilities, work, distance learning and the impact on their families. Parents have expressed the need for tools, resources and consultation that support their own mental well-being as well as that of their family members. Although a certain level of stress is normal, ongoing stress without coping techniques to manage feelings can be mentally and physically damaging to one’s health. The Parent Support Program enhances the resilience of District families by providing coping tools and consultation services that help parents manage the stressors they are experiencing.
Wellness Wednesday is an online parent support group that helps parents take care of themselves and foster resiliency for their children in these challenging times. Parents can share experiences and ask questions of clinicians who work in public schools and child development centers. Wellness Wednesday is based on an evidence-informed parent program called Parent Café that is designed to support strong families. Parent Café provides a safe space for parents to build five Protective Factors—resilience, relationships, knowledge, support and communication—and create strategies from their own experience to strengthen their families.
Parent Café is widely implemented throughout the country and within the DBH child development center consultation program and the school-based behavioral health services. Wellness Wednesday can be joined every Wednesday at 5:30 pm clicking on the WebEx link (https://bit.ly/31JpYiv) by computer, tablet, or smartphone. Parents also can telephone in: Toll free number: 1-650-479-3208 or 202-860-2110 with the Access Code: 172 761 9215. All sessions are taped and posted in the on-demand video library for parents to view whenever they choose.
Mental Health Hotline. Parents can talk with a licensed clinician anytime for immediate support to discuss coping strategies, address crisis situations, and help resolve family stressors. Clinician also will connect parents to individualized consultation and support. The Mental Health Hotline, 1-888-793-4357 (1-888-WE-HELP) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
Language interpretation services are available.
Licensed clinicians will provide brief counseling and consultation services to support mental well-being. Parents can receive support for behavioral management; to establish routines, and to cope with stress due to juggling multiple responsibilities including distance learning, social distancing, and grief and trauma related to the loss of a loved one. Services will be provided through the telephone with audio only or through visual telehealth applications. Up to three visits are available to all District parents at no charge. If needed, clinicians will connect parents to ongoing, more intensive support.
On-Demand Video Library and Weekly Parenting Tips
Parents are busy. The on-demand library features virtual workshops and videos, including Wellness Wednesday, which that can be viewed at any time. The videos and workshops provide tools for parents to take care of their own mental health, parenting strategies during home learning, socio-emotional development activities for young children and youth up to high school age, and information about community resources. Parents can also view weekly parenting tips during the Wellness Wednesdays Webinars.
On-Demand Video Library [PDF]