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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

August 25, 2020

Health and Wellness Tidbits from the Stress and Resilience Team: Revealing Resilience – The Community’s Role

Submitted by Elaine Johannes

This is the final installment of the three-part series about Revealing Resilience among young people through adversity and uncertainty.

We’ve learned quite a bit from this global pandemic. As individuals we’ve learned that we can build skills in online communication, we can make small and meaningful adjustments, and we can feel great relief when we have some structure and routine. As an organization, KSRE has learned to pivot quickly, communicate consistently during changing situations, and pursue innovation. These are all lessons that build personal and professional resilience during uncertain times. But, what can communities do to contribute to the building of resilience among young people and their families?

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, which is one of the national networks that supports Mental Health First Aid programs, after an organization/community experiences crisis like a pandemic and confronts the aftermath it is important that the community – which is comprised of multiple businesses, faith communities, schools, civic groups to neighborhoods – celebrate what they have learned about resilience. As a whole, the community needs to reflect and celebrate that it has rebounded knowing that it has resistance to weather the next crisis whatever it may be. Young people can learn a lot about building their own resilience when they see how resilience is revealed in their communities.

Though the pandemic and all of its uncertainty continue, and it’s too soon to make plans to celebrate our recovery, organizations and communities can focus on six ways to reveal their collective resilience now:

• Safety: Ensure physical and emotional safety of everyone no matter their standing in the community.
• Trustworthiness and Transparency: Provide clear information consistently communicated.
• Support and Mutual Self-Help: Value the lived experiences of all and apply those lessons; seek out those in our midst who have experience.
• Collaboration and Mutuality: Encourage shared decision-making; provide meaningful opportunities and roles to all sectors of the communities including young people.
• Empowerment, Voice and Choice: Create atmospheres that allow validation of experiences, voices and ideas
• Value Culture, History: Interact and engage with a lens of diversity, inclusion and equity. This pandemic has not been an “equal opportunity” experience and there are some more impacted than others.
(National Council for Behavioral Health, 2020)

As we move through this year and into the next, don’t forget to celebrate the accomplishments that families, communities and young people have had during these times. Communities may plan ways to acknowledge anniversaries of their response to COVID-19 and of the community’s resilience. Young people will take notice of these community anniversaries and will use them to celebrate that they too had their resilience revealed through adversity.

Carry on!