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6 Ways to Help a Family Going through a Mental Health Emergency

I've lost count of how many mental health emergencies Sunshine has gone through over the years, and she's not even eleven years old yet.

Every single one of those mental health emergencies has affected every single person in our family in big ways. During these situations, Sunshine's definitely not the only one who needed help.

We would not have been okay, had it not been for the help of friends, acquaintances, and sometimes perfect strangers.

This morning I was contacted by a follower, wondering what she could do to help a close friend, who's family is going through a mental health emergency right now.

Here I will share 6 ways to help a family going through a mental health emergency, based on my own experiences.


6 Ways to Help a Family Going through a Mental Health Emergency

6 Ways to Help a Family Going Through a Mental Health Emergency


Money


6 Ways to Help a Family Going through a Mental Health Emergency: Money

If your family has never experienced a mental health emergency before, you have NO IDEA how expensive it is, even if the person who is not okay has Medicaid.

Travel to and from the hospital ER, psychiatric facility or other location is expensive and required.

Caregivers often need to take time off of work during these difficult times, losing pay they would otherwise have, that's already allotted to other expenses.

There are so many required appointments during a mental health emergency. All require gas, transportation, and that you actually be there.
 
This doesn't even begin to cover extra food expenses that come up while you're traveling. 

It also doesn't include any necessary items for the patient having the mental health emergency, or for the caregiver who may be required to stay with the patient until she is stable.

A mental health emergency turns a family's financial situation upside down. Many of our family mental health emergencies have also required hotel stays. Every expense adds up so quickly.

If you can, donate cash to help the family in need. It is the number one thing they will need during a time like this.


Food


6 Ways to Help a Family Going through a Mental Health Emergency: Food

When there is a mental health emergency in the family, everything else takes a backseat, including meals. Caregivers may be at the hospital ER with the patient waiting for a bed to open up for days or weeks. 

There are limited psychiatric wards and residential facilities within each state. The distance between home and where the patient being cared for can be hours and sometimes states away. 

Depending on the hospital, the caregiver may or may not be fed along with the patient, yet is required to stay there with them. (We've experienced both situations.)

Everyone is required to eat. Caregivers of those experiencing a mental health emergency NEED to eat in order to keep of their strength for however long the crisis continues.

If you're willing, set up a time to deliver meals to the family's home and do so. Ensure that they don't have to be eaten right away and can be stored easily. 

Send along paper plates, bowls, cups, and plastic silverware to ensure no dishes need to be done.

Personally deliver, or call and have meals delivered to the hospital ER or hotel where the caregiver is staying if needed.

Give one or more gift cards to easy access restaurants along the route the family will be traveling during the mental health emergency.

Deliver a basket of nonperishable healthy snack foods that can be thrown in a purse and taken on the go.

Do the grocery shopping for the family purchasing foods that do not require preparation and deliver it to their home at a convenient time.

Child Care/Animal Care


6 Ways to Help a Family Going through a Mental Health Emergency: Child Care/Pet Care

Mental health emergencies are not planned events. Siblings of the patient are often tossed to and frow as caregivers scramble to do what's necessary, or end up witnessing all that occurs at home, in the ER, and other locations.

Many hospitals, psychiatric wards, and other places have rules and regulations about the age and number of visitors.

A mental health emergency is not an event that lasts only minutes or hours. It often can last days and months, which are filled with appointments.

If you are able to offer child care for a family going through a mental health emergency, do so. It can be a life saver, especially as caregivers are trying to balance work and being their for the patient. 

Most often these families will need child care during the day and through the night depending on the situation.

If the family has animals, the same services are extremely helpful.

Yard Maintenance


6 Ways to Help a Family Going through a Mental Health Emergency: Yard Maintenance

One thing, more than any other, that is tossed to the side during a mental health emergency is yard maintenance. There is absolutely no time to do it.

If you are able to mow a lawn, water plants, and/or other gardening tasks, offer to do so. It's one less thing the family needs to worry about. 

To come home to a lawn and garden that looks beautiful and taken care of makes such a difference.

If you live far away and have the means to do so, hire a landscaping company to care for the lawn of the family going through an emergency health crisis through the end of the season.

Mental health emergencies don't just happen during warm weather. Raking leaves, shoveling snow, and sprinkling salt on sidewalks and driveways during icy weather means so much!

A Shoulder to Cry On


6 Ways to Help a Family Going through a Mental Health Emergency: A Should to Cry On

 A mental health emergency feels like a nightmare that never ends. Caregivers are filled with so many different emotions, many contracting each other. 

I have not experienced a single mental health emergency, where I wasn't judged wrongly as a parent by a professional or an emergency responder at one time or another. 

Mental health emergencies are painful experiences that cause so much doubt and hurt.

Caregivers are put in such difficult positions as they try to help the patient and keep all others in the family safe and well taken care of.

The decisions that caregivers face about the future of the patient they love can be gut wrenching.

If you are able to provide a shoulder to cry on without judgement of thoughts, words, and actions, do so. 

Unconditional love can go a long way.

A Gift of Love


6 Ways to Help a Family Going through a Mental Health Emergency: A Gift of Love

During a mental health emergency all focus is on the patient. Most often caregivers are being put through the ringer by professionals and emergency responders. Siblings are being tossed around as caregivers are required to do all that's expected of them.

Everyone is hurting. 

Everyone is suffering. 

Yet, help is only being provided to the one in crisis.

Everyone else's world is being tossed upside down.

Showing love towards those in the family affected by the patient's mental health emergency can go a long way in making sure that family members know they are loved, important, and cared for.

Besides money and food, the expressions of love that helped siblings the most during Sunshine's mental health crises were gifts sent to them during the mental health emergency. 

Through these gifts, they were able to remember that they were important and loved too, when all the focus seemed to be on their sister.

As a parent, I can think of no other experience where I was judged so harshly than during Sunshine's first few mental health emergencies. There has been no other experience so exhausting and stressful. 

The demands on me as Sunshine's caregiver were so high. Self-care was NOT something I was capable of at that time.

I remember vividly when a dear friend showed up at my door with flowers and chocolate just for me as I was preparing to make yet another trip to the pediatric psychiatric ward for a therapy session and visit. 

I cried. 

I felt loved.

I felt like a person again, which hadn't been the case through the duration of the emergency.

Little gifts can make such a difference in the mental health status of siblings and caregivers going through the mental health emergency with the patient.

A family going through a mental health emergency is in desperate need of help and support from those who will not judge. 

If you have not experienced a mental health emergency in your family, you have no idea what a nightmare it can be.

All caregivers want to do is find help for the patient in a system that does not work. Meanwhile their world is turned upside down, which then has a deep impact on others in the household.

The entire experience is gut wrenching and unbelievably stressful. So much damage occurs to the family in the process.

If you are in a place to help, do so. You will be an angel to the family in need. Even if they are unable to thank you at the time, they will never forget your love and generosity.

For those who would like to follow our journey with Sunshine, regarding her mental health and/or receive other helpful tips on how to serve others going through mental health struggles, be sure subscribe to our FREE newsletter.


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Our Pediatric Mental Health Crisis 10 Ways to Help Family with Special Needs Children It's Time to Have a Serious Talk about Residential Treatment Centers How Do You Work with a Broken Mental Health System The System Failed Us Horribly She Needs a Forensics Exam To Be a Mother of a Young Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder

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FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Activities

Counting can be so much fun when dolphins and whales are involved, especially when activities are free!

Whether your child is learning to identify numbers or number words, there is something for everyone included.

There are free printables for those who enjoy nomenclature style or match up activities, as well as those who enjoy multiple choices in the form of clip cards.

The FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Activities are perfect for children in preschool and early elementary classrooms.


FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Activities

FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Activities


The dolphin and whale counting activities are super easy to use. Download, print, and cut them. (I choose to laminate them as well.)

If you're using the nomenclature or matching style cards, cut the number or word number strips off the bottoms of each card and have children match them to each picture.

When using the multiple choice or clip card option, choose a marker, and have children mark the correct answers on each card.  

I usually like to use glass beads as markers, but mini clothespins or other options work as well.

I usually print out an extra set of the nomenclature style cards to use as a control so kids can check their work when they've completed it.

The Dolphin and Whale Counting Activities is a FREE printable. Click on the link at the bottom of this post to receive your copy.

FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mats

FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mats

 
Do not forget to grab our beautiful FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mats to go along with the FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Activities. Both sets of printables use the same true-to-life images. 

Whether your child prefers play dough, clip cards, or nomenclature cards, the same beautiful whales and dolphins can be enjoyed.

If you have more than one child with different skill sets, choose the activity that meets each of them where they're at. Everyone can enjoy whales and dolphins together!

So much fun can be had with these printables!

Don't forget to grab your free dolphin and whale activities by clicking the link below.


For those looking for more dolphin and whale activities or number and counting activities, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter!


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids FREE Ray Printable Pack Fish Printable Pack in Action 10 Ways to Teach Land and Water Forms Shark Activities for Tots and Preschoolers Shark Activities for Preschoolers

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FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mats

Dolphins and whales are such fabulous ocean mammals. It is so much fun to count them as you spot them in the ocean, at an aquarium, or at a theme park. 

Unfortunately not all of us are lucky enough to have those opportunities.

This is why I have created the FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mats for toddlers and preschoolers to enjoy at home, in the classroom, or on the go!

The dolphin and whale counting play dough mats are perfect for little ones who are learning to count from one to ten and identify numbers and quantities.

All images are true-to-life so children can see these beautiful creatures as they are in the real world.

FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mats

 Let's discuss all of the options when using these wonderful dolphin and whale counting play dough mats and how we've chosen to use ours.


FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mats


Play dough mats are not a new concept. What I love about them is that they can be used in so many ways to meet the individual needs of each child.

The number does not need to be filled with play dough.  Feel free to fill in the space any way you'd like with paint, paper and glue, etc.

Stamps, buttons, stickers, etc. can be used as counters. Or, if you'd like you can use play dough and have your child roll the play dough into balls. 

The sky is the limit when using this printable.

Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mats Presentation

When creating our counting mat activity, I chose to make gray play dough mixed with blue and teal glitter to match the color of the dolphins and whales and go well with the color of water in each image. It looks a little more blue in the images here, but I assure you I only added a little black food coloring.

Because my kids LOVE animal figures, I decided to include dolphin and whale animal figures on our tray that can be used with (or without) the play dough.

It can get a little tricky fitting all of the whales and dolphins on the numbers, but it's doable. If you feel your child would become frustrated with this step, definitely don't included it.

For counting purposes, I chose to use blue glass beads. These are a staple in our classroom. I LOVE how they look, feel, and work so well.

Whenever we use play dough, I always tend to use a cookie sheet for a tray, to ensure things don't get too messy. The kids know the play dough remains on the tray.

Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mat Activity Completed

The final product looks amazing! 

When it comes to sensory needs, I love that this activity provides so much tactile and visual stimulation. 

If I were to add one item to this tray, it would probably be a magnifying glass, just so kids can look at the image more closely to count whales accurately. 

FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Activities

FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Activities


For those who feel their kids are ready for the next step when learning numbers and counting, consider using the new FREE Dolphin and Whale Counting Activities.

This printable pack includes nomenclature and clip card style counting activities with numbers and number words to meet the needs of every student.

What's super cool about this printable pack is that it includes the same true-to-life images as the play dough mats.

Whether you have two students with different skill sets or you want to progress through the counting materials, you have everything you need to do so.

Don't forget to download the Dolphin and Whale Counting Play Dough Mats are FREE. To receive your copy, be sure to click on the link below.



For those who are looking for more dolphin and whale themed learning resources or counting activities for kids, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter to receive regular updates about new printables!


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoyed the resources below.

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids Shark Activities for Tots and Preschoolers Shark Activities for Preschoolers Shark Practical Life Activities Montessori-inspired Shark Unit Printable Pack Bundle Montessori-inspired Mammals Printable Pack


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Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids

One can never have enough sensory resources on hand for children who need them. If you're like us, you carry them everywhere with you.

This spring I splurged on some fabulous ocean themed sensory fidgets for Sunshine. Some were given to her at her RTC, each day we were gone on our marine biology themed vacation. Others are for home. She has absolutely loved them.

Whether you're looking for ocean themed sensory resources for kids to use on vacation, throughout the summer, or in the classroom as you study the ocean, the sensory resources below are sure to be a hit!


Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids


Every child has different sensory needs. Observe your child to determine which sensory resources or fidgets will work best for them. There are options for everyone here!


Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Reversable Octopus Plushie


Reversable Octopus Plushie


I LOVE the reversable octopus plushie! Sunshine loves turning the octopus inside out. It's perfect for when she needs sensory input in her fingers. This octopus comes in so many color choices to meet the needs of all kids.

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Killer Whale Stress Toy


Killer Whale Stress Toy


Sunshine loves squishy stress toys to squeeze when she's feeling nervous and or anxious. This killer whale is the perfect sensory resource for her during those times.  I love the shape of it and how her hand fits around it.

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Flip Sequin Sea Turtle Plush


Flip Sequin Sea Turtle Plush


There are few things that Sunshine loves more than sequins and stuffed animals. This sea turtle is the best of both worlds, and comes in her favorite colors. I love that this turtle is the perfect size to throw into a sensory bag on the go.

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Flip Sequin Shark Plush

Flip Sequin Shark Plush


If you're child isn't into pink and purple, try this sequined shark stuffed animal. It's similar in size and is so soft and fun!

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Sand Filled Dolphin & Shark Fidgets


Sand Filled Dolphin & Shark Fidgets


When Bulldozer and Dinomite were little, these were their favorite type of fidgets. They collected so many sand filled animals including snakes and other reptiles. Sunshine enjoys them just as much. In all our years of owning this type of fidget, only two have ever broken.

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Blue Dolphin Chew Necklace


Blue Dolphin Chew Necklace


Both of my girls love dolphins and use chewies often. This is such a special chewie that showcases one of their passions and provides the sensory input they need. Necklace chewies are my favorite because they don't get lost as often and they double as jewelry, which the girls love.


Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Shark Tooth Chew Necklace

Shark Tooth Chew Necklace


Bulldozer loves these chewies and has worn them often. They are on the soft side and won't work for aggressive chewers. But for Dinomite who's a HUGE shark fan, they do the job. I love that these shark chewy necklaces work for boys and girls alike! 

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Kinetic Sand Rainbow Castle


Kinetic Sand Rainbow Castle


Some sensory resources are specific to certain living spaces. Kinetic sand is definitely one of these things. It can get messy, but Sunshine LOVES it. I must admit, I enjoy it too!

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Mermaid Shell Squishy Stress Balls


Mermaid Shell Squishy Stress Balls


I just love these shells. They are so cute and provide such a fun sensory experience. In our house oceans are synonymous with mermaids so it only makes sense that we have these around. I love that the shells are so bright and colorful as well.

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Floating Sea Creatures Liquid Timer


Floating Sea Creatures Liquid Timer


Bulldozer craves visual stimuli and loves liquid timers. He actually collects them now. I love that this one has an ocean theme to it and a really cool shape. This liquid timer does come in a variety of colors.

Visual timers can be used in so many ways while providing sensory input for kids. I don't know what we'd do without ours. 

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Liquid Motion Flowing Sand Art Picture


Liquid Motion Flowing Sand Art Picture


One of Bulldozer's favorite sensory experiences is watching waves and water. This is the perfect visual sensory resource for him! I love how real it looks. 

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Ray and Sea Turtle Pop Bubble Fidget


Ray and Sea Turtle Pop Bubble Fidget


Sunshine is big into pop its right now, which I love because they're easy to find and come in so many shapes. I couldn't get over how adorable this ray and sea turtle pop its were. I love the colors and the details.

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Rainbow Dolphin and Blue Whale Pop Bubble Fidgets


Rainbow Dolphin and Blue Whale Pop Bubble Fidgets


To ensure variety and to add a girlie touch to pop it choices, I couldn't resist these dolphin and whale styles. The rainbow colors are beautiful. If your child doesn't like whales, it would be super easy to say that the tail is from a mermaid instead.

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Shark Water Wigglies


Shark Water Wigglies


The feel of these water wigglies is so soothing. I love how sharks and rays are inside. For kids who love to keep their hands busy, there is so much fun to be had with these.


Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Squishy Sea Life Animals


Squishy Sea Life Animals


I just love how these little sea animals feel. So does Sunshine. There is such a great variety  of sea animals included in this pack in so many colors. Their size makes them perfect for on the go adventures. 

Ocean Themed Sensory Resources for Kids: Deep Blue Sea Play Putty


Deep Blue Sea Play Putty


The girls have both used therapy putty several times over the year to help strengthen muscles and more.  I love that this putty comes with charms the kids can look for within the putty. The charms are so cute!

The ocean theme is such a fun one when it comes to sensory resources and fidgets for kids. I know Sunshine is really enjoying them!

For those who are looking for more sensory resources, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter. 


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.


Must Have Fidget Toys Auditory Sensory Resources for Children Shark Activities for Tots and Preschoolers Montessori-inspired Shark Themed Practical Life Activities Montessori-inspired Fish Printable Pack Bundle Montessori-inspired Shark Unit Printable Pack Bundle
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