Mental Health Awareness at Anoka Ramsey Community College

Jeff Yalden Electrifies Cambridge, MN

By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker

On Wednesday, March 22, Jeff Yalden brought his motivational and mental health expertise to Anoka Ramsey Community College in Cambridge, MN, where he spent a full day with the psychology club and the counseling department.

Anoka Ramsey was a top-ten finalist for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence through the Aspen Institute, which is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to educational and policy studies.

After breakfast, Yalden spoke with college staff about a message board out in the hallway which had been seen a spike in negative feedback about emotions.

“The board usually inspires kids to come check it out, and they would post questions on it, but the school was becoming concerned about their mental health and mental awareness – so they decided to take action and brought me in,” he said.

The first step was mindfulness training, which began with an exercise to chart anxiety levels on a scale from one to ten, with ten being the highest.

“For us to be healthy, I think we should be operating between two and four,” he said, adding that celebrating little victories and small accomplishments is a good way step back and provide a needed mental break.

He spent some time teaching a basic meditation practice of focusing only on breath – the inhale and the exhale – for two minutes.

“This slows down your brain – slows the process down,” he said. “We are concerned with how many likes we have on Instagram or who is following us on Snapchat. I think the best thing for you guys is to work hard at finding out who you are – and who you are not.”

He went on to talk about his battles with mental health and depression and then shifted to mental health awareness and suicide prevention – how to look out for your friends and not being afraid to say something.

“Somebody that isn’t mentally healthy is not thinking in the right frame of mind,” he said.

Yalden stressed the importance of getting back “in purpose” after a setback or crisis.

“When there is something not right in my life, I go right to the mirror. Take responsibility and be your best advocate.”

But sometimes the first and best thing a person can do is to ask for help.

“Sometimes the down periods last longer than usual. This is usually the result of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters being out-of-balance.”

Two contributing factors to suicide can be dysthymia [a persistent mild depression] and adjustment disorder [usually following a stressful life event like a death of a loved one, moving, divorce, changing schools].

“If you have any of these for more than two weeks, go talk to somebody,” he said.

One student told him, “My tomorrow will be better, and I will not feel down about it. I don’t let myself down because I love myself.”

Impressed, Yalden built on that:

“You are doing the little things every day to make tomorrow better than today – and you are making today better than yesterday.”

But this requires consistency.

“That’s an incredible discipline that you have to do every day. The problem is, you can’t just do it once in a while. You do it every single day and your whole life will change,” he said.

To find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker, visit www.jeffyalden.com.

Book Jeff now for your next event by calling 800-948-9289.

 

 

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Author:Roger Yale

Roger Yale is a longtime contributor to McClatchy Newspapers’ The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, focusing on stories about the people who make the Grand Strand awesome, including teen motivational speaker Jeff Yalden. He was voted Story of the Year winner four times by readers of The Sun News’ sister publication, Weekly Surge. Roger is the parent of adult twins. His son is a United States Marine and his daughter is currently involved in marketing for Broadway productions in New York City. He spent many years as a single father, and he believes that the experience was something to relish – and the bond he forged with his twins remains strong. Roger is also a working musician. For more about Roger, visit his blog: www.rogeryale.wordpress.com

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