Children’s Healthcare takes a mental break in Gwinnett parks

Scannable signage installed in 4 Gwinnett parks is providing visitors with interactive coping skills and resiliency tips.

Taking a walk in four Gwinnett parks just got more interesting. New scannable signs were recently placed along walking paths to virtually introduce children and families to healthy habits and coping skills. As simple as a reminder to slow down in nature and take a deep breath, the signs are a joint effort between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Live Healthy Gwinnett and Gwinnett Parks and Recreation.

“Strong4Life, which is the prevention arm of Children’s, launched a campaign earlier this year called Raising Resilience,” said Jody Baumstein, LCSW, Licensed Therapist with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4life. “The initiative is really about empowering caregivers to practically help all kids and teens build resilience so they can navigate life’s ups and downs.”

In 2014, Strong4Life supported the initiation of Live Healthy Gwinnett while also assisting in the development of county-wide health and wellness standards. The second signage campaign in collaboration with Live Healthy Gwinnett, Raising Resilience through Nature, is an interactive experience along trails and leisure outlets.

“Parks and trails are havens for positive mental health,” said Community Services Director, Tina Fleming in a statement. “We’re honored to be asked by Strong4Life to have our Gwinnett Trails selected to showcase this one-of-a-kind resource. It’s helping us meet our mission of supporting a community where everyone thrives.”

Signage has been placed in Little Mulberry Park in Dacula, Lenora Park in Snellville, Shorty Howell Park in Duluth and Mountain Park Park in Lilburn with language like “calm your mind” and “let’s get talking.”

Introductory signs explaining the project can be found at park entrances, while a series of “Raising Resilience stations” have been installed along trails featuring QR codes linking visitors to videos of deep-breathing exercises, guided imagery and more.

The four strategically designated parks were chosen based on the Centers for Disease Control’s Social Vulnerability Index map. Circuits were given priority based on likelihood of social impact, diversity in demographics, geography, activity and pre-existing park conditions.

“These parks have multiple amenities,” said Lindsey Jorstad Deputy Department Director, Gwinnett Community Services. “In addition to the trails on site, they have recreation centers, gymnasiums, activity buildings, ballfields and playgrounds.”

The idea behind the program is to encourage these mental health and wellness skills through everyday activities so they become a habit before crisis strikes.

“Kids aren’t born knowing how to cope,” added Baumstein. “These are skills we have to teach them and continue to practice as they get older. We want to help families know it can be done in every day small moments.”

Details about Raising Resilience: www.strong4life.com/en/emotional-wellness/raising-resilience.