Aligning Resources Across Georgia To Support Resiliency
To Our Resilient Georgia Partners and Stakeholders:
Please mark your calendars for our Lunch and Learn taking place July 21st from 12 to 12:45. We launched the Resilient Georgia Lunch and Learn series this year to provide a place for our regional coalition partners, peers, and stakeholders to share opportunities for partnership across the state. This month will feature Sewn Arts. Sewn Arts is a nonprofit organization working throughout Georgia that aids care providers and health & human service agencies incorporate evidence-based arts interventions that improve individual and community health. During this session, Sewn will share research, examples, and opportunities to utilize art, music, and other forms of creativity that aid behavioral health prevention and recovery efforts. If you would like to attend or present at one of our upcoming Lunch and Learns, please contact us at [email protected].

The power of art as a trauma-informed healing tool is well-supported and deeply inspiring. This scientific article reviews the merits of multiple arts-based therapies, including musical techniques similar to the work of our friends at Sewn Arts, who are helping mothers create lullabies for their babies in the hopes of optimizing bonding and development. At one Atlanta hospital, music therapists have teamed up with mothers to record soothing tracks that can be played to infants even when their mothers aren’t around. Experts at The American Art Therapy Association speak here on the ability of art to address childhood trauma through allowing children to express adversity that their language cannot describe. To learn more about art therapy in a personal capacity, this webinar by the Swedish Medical Foundation offers the opportunity to actually practice techniques with a mental health professional. Finally, this story tells how one woman uses creativity to transform trauma into flowers of reconciliation. We hope these resources help our readers consider how we can collectively utilize art as a therapeutic practice of resilience!
We would also like to highlight several resources and news updates:

  • This video PSA, created by our partners at the Athens Northeast Georgia Coalition, explains the nature of trauma and what it means to be trauma-informed in our personal and professional lives. Join our Athens partners for this virtual training on stress management and mindfulness on August 5th or 10th at 6PM, or August 12th at 3PM.
  • Resilient Georgia is so proud to partner with our regional coalition grantee, Greater Valdosta United Way. Listen to their Executive Director Michael Smith talk about the organization’s mission to spread mental health awareness in Georgia. Then be sure to read this informative article about their work promoting safe haven laws and resources for young children.
  • Check out this article highlighting another Resilient Georgia regional coalition grantee, The Vashti Center and their important youth mental health work. 
  • The Morehouse School of Medicine is currently researching ways to improve father engagement in the Atlanta area. If you're a parent who would like to add input on the development of their program, complete this survey by July 16th.

Summer is an optimal time for caregivers to promote behavioral health and resilience in their kids. Without the busyness of school, children may have a larger capacity to absorb tools for success. We recommend this holistic packet of activities and prompts created by Sources of Strength, as well as the wonderful modules by Strong4Life on children’s emotional wellness. This list of free educational resources curated by Edutopia can help kids be academically prepared for when school starts back up. We’d also like to remind parents that allowing children to enjoy themselves through play can be highly useful for promoting wellbeing. The Child Mind Institute provides insight on how to promote reading as a fun learning experience for kids. If a child in your life tends to enjoy more active entertainment, this list of 100 outdoor summer activities is sure to keep them busy for hours. For children who could benefit from some extra socializing, but feel nervous to embark on a trip to summer camp, this guide offers encouragement and advice. We are deeply appreciative of the time and effort caregivers put into supporting their children in these out of school months. 


Brenda Fitzgerald, MD
Executive Board Chair
Emily Anne Vall, PhD
Executive Director
Regional Grantee Coalition Spotlight

Resilient Chattahoochee Valley is a regional initiative that seeks to improve outcomes for children 0-16 through the implementation of 3 equity-based strategies: Resilient Chattahoochee Valley, The Basics Chattahoochee Valley and Community Schools United. Collectively, these strategies aim to foster a resilient community where children enter school ready to learn, are supported academically, emotionally, and socially, and graduate high school on time ready for college or career. United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley provides the backbone support for this initiative.
Coalition Geographic Service Area:
Chattahoochee, Clay, Harris, Macon, Marion, Muscogee, Quitman, Schley, Stewart, Talbot, Taylor, Webster
Tell us about an innovative community partnership that your coalition is actively engaged in to address the behavioral health needs of your region?

One of our most unique partnerships is with the historic Springer Opera House and their Theatre for the Very Young program, which serves children ages 0-5 and provides a place where they can enjoy the magic of live theatre while they wiggle, dance, and explore! Our partnership has allowed The Basics to be incorporated into multiple live performances where parents can witness the five Basics being modeled in real time while engaging children directly. The skills parents learn during these performances allow for easy implementation in their own homes where the demand for children’s developmental, social, emotional, and behavioral needs to be met is critical. The Basics Principles, particularly “Maximize Love, Manage Stress,” assist in meeting this need and help ensure that every child has a great start in life.
What are some accomplishments you would like to highlight?
  • As of June 2021, Resilient Chattahoochee Valley sponsored three individuals to become certified Connections Matter trainers. These trainers will be the first to offer the Connections Matter training in our region seeking to increase our community’s awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences and strengthen our joint efforts to increase our shared level of resiliency. 
  • Resilient Chattahoochee Valley’s recent collaboration with 211, our community’s information and referral services line, resulted in the creation of outreach materials that help members of our community identify the warning signs of children’s mental illness and allow for easy referral to child friendly resources.
To learn more, please visit their United Way and The Basics Websites and read our Resilient Georgia Regional Grantee Summaries - Spring 2021
Positive and Adverse Childhood Experiences (PACEs)
The news regarding youth mental health can be incredibly discouraging. For example, emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts increased by 39% among adolescents in winter 2021 compared to winter 2019. Additionally, mental health professionals are noting an increased frequency and intensity in adolescents with eating disorders, likely due to the stress and isolation of the pandemic. This New York Times article explains why young children are no longer a “low-risk” group in terms of mental illness, and why this shift has greatly amplified the inability of hospitals to treat mental health crises.

Such complex and urgent matters require a multidimensional approach, with all hands on deck. The organizations and individuals below exemplify the progress being made to foster resilience in children and remind us that we aren’t fighting this battle alone. We’re excited that a bipartisan coalition of US senators is reintroducing the Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) from Trauma Act, which aims to lessen the impact of ACE’s and promote healthy development in childhood. Bills like these owe much of their basis to behavioral scientists and advocates across America. This article describes the work of Katie McLaughlin, a researcher studying factors that can boost kids’ resilience after the COVID-19 pandemic. In Georgia schools, Georgia State’s CREATE Teacher Residency is ensuring that educators are equipped to provide positive and equitable learning experiences by considering trauma as a potential predictor of a child’s behavior. A trauma-informed framework is also now being applied to meditation and yoga in the hopes of lessening the negative physiological and emotional impacts of ACE’s. If you, or anyone you know is struggling with mental illness personally, this well-balanced article describes how sharing experiences can bring about transformative support and connection.
COVID-19 Resources
  • If you're a Georgian struggling to keep up with payments after the financial stress of the pandemic, you may qualify for rent and internet assistance. Follow the links for more information. 

  • Register here for National Child Traumatic Stress Network's two day virtual summit on child trauma in the context of COVID-19.

  •  These moms are using their rapport within the Atlanta community to promote COVID-19 vaccinations for those who might be hesitant.
Racial Equity Resources
  •  Ky Lindberg, Executive Director of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, goes in depth on HMHGA's mission to address maternal and infant health barriers throughout the state & why building equitable care, particularly in BIPOC and low-income communities, is essential to moving the needle on Georgia's maternal mortality crisis.

  • Read about the history of anti-Black exclusionary pools and why this mom is determined to teach her son how to stay safe and have fun in the water.

  • This infographic by the National Institute for Health Care Management breaks down the socio-economic disparities that have greatly exacerbated the impact of COVID-19 on Native American communities. Another article argues that the real toll may be even worse than statistics suggest. 
Be sure to read additional resources on the topics above, and more, here.
“Our resilience increases as we recognize the magnitude of what we have already accomplished.” 
― Patricia O'Gormon