YMCA Offers Free Introduction to Mindfulness Classes, Partners to Promote Free Community Resources

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WEST CHESTER, PA — The YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) is offering a new Introduction to Mindfulness for Wellbeing class for free throughout the month of May in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. The four-week virtual class will be held on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings.

“All people experience mental health on a spectrum that is influenced by their day-to-day experiences and commitments,” shares Jim Paro, Chief Strategy Officer for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. “While we have many offerings that help individuals manage their mental health and daily stressors on their own – like physical activity, connections to community or participation in philanthropic efforts – we are excited to explore more intentional programming options where participants can learn practical skills and strategies for consciously supporting their mental health.”

Introduction to Mindfulness for Wellbeing will go through key mindfulness practices that can help individuals to cultivate greater self-awareness, manage or reduce stress and live with greater ease. Classes are enrolling now and are free with the code MINDFULMAY.

“Mental health is a huge piece of our overall health,” shares Heather Bloodworth, VP of Membership and Wellness, who leads the new program. “For someone who feels overwhelmed or lost or who may be struggling, it can feel like a tremendous hurdle just getting started. The YMCA can play such a critical role in making programs more accessible and to help reduce stigma and barriers to getting help.”

In addition to the new Introduction to Mindfulness for Wellbeing offering, the YMCA has partnered with West Chester University to provide additional training for its staff.

“This summer, all of our camp leadership staff – in addition to a number of our other key leaders – will go through Youth Mental Health First Aid training,” shares Bloodworth. “This evidenced-based training teaches participants how to identify risk factors, warning signs and provides practical skills to help someone struggling with a mental health concern or crisis.”

Mental Health First Aid classes are currently being offered for free, in both online and in-person formats through West Chester University and by the County.

UPCOMING EVENTS AVAILABLE IN CHESTER COUNTY

Introduction to Mindfulness for Wellbeing
This event is an Introduction to Mindfulness Program to boost your mental health and well-being. Learn key Mindfulness practices to cultivate more self-awareness, reduce stress, and live with greater ease through this interactive weekly training. Learn basic breathing techniques, guided body scans, sitting and mindful movement guided meditations, and lessons that include supportive resources that will support a healthier and happier life. Intended for those new to Mindfulness or with previous training. Led by teacher trained Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction instructor trained through the University of Pennsylvania and University of California -San Diego.
Free with code MINDFULMAY
Wed, May 4 – 25 from 1 – 2 PM – VIRTUAL
http://apm.activecommunities.com/ymcagreaterbrandywine/Activity_Search/110681
Thurs, May 5 – May 25 from 6 – 7 PM
http://apm.activecommunities.com/ymcagreaterbrandywine/Activity_Search/110682

Mental Health First Aid Training
Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour, evidence-based public education program designed to teach everyday citizens the skills to help someone struggling with a mental health concern or crisis. The course teaches how to identify risk factors and warning signs and to understand and respond with a practical action plan.
May 18 – 8:30 – 3:30 PM – In person – https://www.wcupa.edu/healthSciences/mentalHealthFirstAid.aspx
May 20 – 8:30 – 3:00 PM, Virtual – https://wcuhealthsciences.ticketleap.com/vmhfa-may20/
Offered through West Chester University and the Chester County Office of Mental Health. Sponsored by the Chester County Hospital

Resilience Screening and Panel Discussion
This event is a screening and discussion of Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope, a one-hour documentary that delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the birth of a movement to treat and prevent toxic stress. Recognized to be one of the drivers for conditions as diverse as heart disease, cancer, substance, abuse, and depression – extremely stressful experiences in childhood are understood to alter brain development and have lifelong impacts on health and behavior. 
May 3 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM — Bethel AME Church, West Chester
May 5 from 5:30 – 8:30 PM – Phoenixville Rec Center
Register at ACEs website www.ccacescoalition.com/events
Presented by the Chester County ACEs Coalition

QPR Suicide Prevention Class
Thursday, May 5
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Presented by the Chester County Suicide Prevention Task force and sponsored by the Chester County Health Department.
Government Services Center, 601 Westtown Road, WC. Register by emailing [email protected]

Your Elementary School Student and the Pandemic: Bouncing Back for Fall a Panel Presentation from the CCSP Task Force
Tuesday, May 10
7 – 8 PM
Virtual Learn more and register at chestercountysuicideprevention.com

Back to the Basics: How to Use the Summer Break to De-Stress and Reconnect with your Middle or High Schooler a Panel Presentation from the CCSP Task Force
Tuesday, May 17
7 – 8 PM
Virtual Learn more and register at chestercountysuicideprevention.com

Connections: Trauma & Suicide
Wednesday, May 18
6 – 7 PM
In this training, the audience will examine how traumas, like Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), are associated with rising suicide rates as well as how the loss of a loved one to suicide can be a traumatic experience in itself.  Additionally, an overview of prevention strategies to reduce the generational impact of trauma and suicide on families and communities will be highlighted.
A collaboration from the Chester County ACEs Coalition and the Chester County Suicide Prevention Task Force and sponsored by Chester County Hospital.
Register Now: https://www.chestercountyhospital.org/community-wellness-and-education/wellness-events-calendar

To learn more, visit www.ymcagbw.org.

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