August 25, 2021

Family feeling stressed? Implement these five simple mental health practices

Behavioral health pillar graphic

With kids going back to school, now is a perfect time to review the “5 Simple Mental Health Practices to Start Now with the Whole Family” article by Parents Together, a nonprofit organization providing independent reporting and commentary on issues that affect kids and families.

The following five mental health practices, which align with the behavioral health pillar of Purdue’s Healthy Boiler Program, are easy to implement and easy for all members of a family – adults and kids alike – to understand and be able to take part in.

Start a gratitude jar

Every day, ask each family member what they are grateful for that day, write it out on a piece of paper, collect them in a jar and when you need a boost, you can pull them out and read them aloud to remember there’s always something to be thankful for.

Walk it out

Take a family walk and have each member report on what they can hear, see, smell and touch (four of the five senses of mindfulness; taste is the fifth). Exercise combined with this mindfulness practice is beneficial to your behavioral health.

Put it on paper

Select a short amount of time – 15 to 20 minutes – of drawing or journaling time as a family. Use family prompts such as, “What’s made you feel frustrated today?” or “What’s made you smile today?” Creating collages, cartoons or lists gives everyone a chance to think about their feelings and the causes for those feelings as well as what other members of the family are experiencing.

Make a family circle

This one is good at bedtime or whenever members of the family need a reminder of the love and support they have for each other. Sit or stand in a circle holding hands and squeeze the person’s hand to the right. Remain quiet while the “love” is passed around three to five times through these hand squeezes.

Create a calm space

As a family, create a quiet time (no screens, music, etc.) space in the home. Stock it with items like books, puzzles, soft pillows, plants and other items that the family finds calming. Whenever a family member needs a mental break, use this space to relax.

Parents Together recommends incorporating these practices into the family routine. For example, add to the gratitude jar every night during dinner or go on a family walk every Saturday morning after breakfast, etc. 


To assist faculty and staff

Review the “Mental Health Resources” webpage for a variety of available resources for faculty and staff, including employee assistance program resources for all Purdue campuses.

To assist students

Faculty and staff, who work with students or have a student at home, can direct students to the resources below for behavioral health assistance. Note: LiveHealth Online Psychology and LiveHealth Online Psychiatry services are also available to Purdue students who are covered on a Purdue health plan. Mental health visits through LiveHealth Online are covered at 100 percent on the Purdue student health plan.  

Office of the Dean of Students

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Faculty-Staff News

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