Alumnae Advocate Mental Health

Wednesday night, to kick off Foxcroft’s Day of Wellness, and in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Alumnae Diversity & Inclusion Committee hosted a virtual gathering and open discussion focused on how we are each dealing with the current world. Alumnae attendees spanning several decades were joined by approximately 30 rising student leaders who participated as part of their training and preparation for their duties next fall.
The Alumnae Council Diversity & Inclusion Committee usually hosts their signature event, Courageous Conversations in person during Reunion Weekend. With the postponement of Reunion and with state COVID-19 restrictions in place, the Committee sought a new way to both fulfill their mission and to serve the School. 

Moderator Lisa Taylor ’84 opened the event by introducing therapists Dr. Emily Eckstein ’00 and Jordan Moore Sraeel ’01 who then led attendees through several topics. As participants shared their thoughts and personal challenges, it became clear that the importance of keeping a routine, especially as a way to regulate sleep or to overcome sleep issues, was a common theme regardless of graduation year.

Students and alumnae alike volunteered the ways they were coping with the feeling of confinement. Bianca M. ’21 shared that she feels fortunate to be able to go for long walks outdoors. Isobel D. ’21 agreed that time outdoors helps her significantly and that she can almost imagine herself back on the Foxcroft campus. Andrea Ewing Reid ’80, a gastroenterologist and hepatologist on the frontlines, spoke about how taking time to say thank you and acknowledging others helps her feel grateful and less melancholy.

Emily and Jordan provided some salient information about how to move forward during this time. Jordan talked about the sense of loss and grieving that many of us are going through, and that radical acceptance – the idea that we need to acknowledge reality – is an essential part of moving on. She also discussed the significance of kindness; the importance of being kind to ourselves and to one another so that we can come through this together. Emily identified some of the signs of needing more support and perhaps professional help and assured the group that abnormal sleep patterns, or mood swings happen and are normal as we go through experiences like this. She cautioned however, that if they are persistent and long lasting, you should consider reaching out to someone for help. Emily also mentioned that sharing feelings with family if you are a student is important, and for anyone who needs it, there are tele-health options and therapists who are providing support virtually.

Jordan also provided two resources for free and low-cost therapy. If you or someone you know may benefit from accessing these websites, please pass along the following.

This team is offering free online therapy to those on the front lines who need it most right now.
 
The Open Path Collective is also a low or no cost therapist finder website for those who are concerned about affording the mental health services they need. https://openpathcollective.org 
 
It was a great evening of sharing across the Foxcroft generations during a time of isolation, stress, and uncertainty. We are grateful to the Alumnae Diversity & Inclusion Committee for organizing and providing these moments of connection, friendship, and compassion, and to Dr. Emily Eckstein ’00 and Jordan Moore Sraeel ’01 for their expertise and Lisa Taylor ’84 for moderating this invaluable discussion.
 
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.