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Mental Health Awareness Month (also referred to as "Mental Health Month") has been observed in May in the United States since 1949. Reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings, it raises awareness about mental illness and related issues. It works to show that many mental health problems can be avoided by making positive lifestyle choices when it comes to how we act and think before issues can manifest.

During the month of May, Mental Health America, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct a number of activities which are based on a different theme each year. This year’s theme is “Fitness #4MIND4BODY”. It will focus on what individuals can do to be fit in their own futures and how mental health is affected by diet and nutrition, sleep, stress, gut health and exercise.

Childhood is a period of physical, emotional, social and intellectual growth. Stress can develop during these times. That is why Bradford-Tioga Head Start, Inc. is working to bring the Fitness #4MIND4BODY” message to the children and families that they serve. One safe way to deal with stress is through yoga. It is a fun and easy way for both adults and kids to feel healthy and happy. Bradford-Tioga Head Start, Inc. teachers have been provided with the opportunity to incorporate yoga into the classroom daily routine. Families have also received a handout about yoga and displays some of the moves that the children are learning in school.

Our fast-paced world does not provide the opportunities to slow down.  Currently, there are high rates of stress, bullying, low self-esteem, learning issues and depression.  It can be difficult to know where to turn for help. By offering children and families yoga as a safe approach to dealing with life’s stressors, Bradford-Tioga Head Start, Inc. hopes to help improve everyone’s well-being. Plus everyone can enjoy yoga – from tots to great-grandparents!

Photo Caption:       Emma and Isaac, two children enrolled in the Wellsboro class of Bradford-Tioga Head Start, Inc. are shown using yoga in a fun and easy way to feel healthy and happy!