In part one of our new blog series, Mind-Body Medicine in Schools, we take a look at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s work with the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) starting in 2018.
In the wake of the February 14, 2018 shooting that resulted in the loss of 17 faculty and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD), BCPS invited CMBM Staff and Faculty to host trauma-relief workshops to help students and faculty process their trauma and the horrific loss of their community members. Spurred by the urgent need for a community-wide stress and trauma-relief response, and through the generous support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, CMBM and local partners launched the Comprehensive Wellness Program for Broward County Public Schools in July 2018.
In this program, students and faculty members learn how to use mind-body skills to manage the grief, depression, and anxiety that they experienced in the aftermath of the shooting and continue to experience today. Some of the techniques taught include Soft-Belly Breathing and Shaking and Dancing. Through regular practice of these and other mind-body skills, students are learning how to cope with and heal from their trauma, and are beginning to feel joy in the classroom once more.
Former MSD faculty Diane Wolk-Rogers, MEd, NBCT was one of the biggest proponents of the program. After earning her certification in Mind-Body Medicine from CMBM, Diane helped found and lead the Mind-Body Ambassadors Club, alongside MSD parent Ellen Fox-Snider. The after-school club gives students a dedicated space to practice mind-body skills helps students take charge of their healing, and the healing of their classmates. The club’s model has been emulated in numerous schools throughout Broward County, resulting in decreases in stress and depression and improvements in burnout and compassion fatigue. Laura Rountree, a soccer coach at MSD, also helped found the Mind-Body Medicine Peer Counseling Program
Recognizing the unique challenges her students were facing, Diane integrated what she learned during the training into her classroom:
The impact of the Comprehensive Wellness Program has been significant. The CMBM model has been shared with over 51,000 children and adults in Broward County. Testimonials from the Comprehensive Wellness Program for Broward County Public Schools demonstrate that students and school faculty present during the February 14th shooting feel calmer and more in-control thanks to their newfound support system. Testimonials also demonstrate the CMBM model’s ability to provide relief, increase hopefulness, and improve community connections among the thousands of students, parents, educators, and community members who have participated.
In 2019, with the support of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, CMBM expanded into the wider Broward community to make these skills more accessible. Today, mind-body medicine techniques can be found in classrooms, clinics, suicide hotlines, community centers, houses of worship, and individual and family counseling sessions throughout the county.
The Comprehensive Wellness Program for Broward County Public Schools is a great example of how mind-body skills can be integrated into our daily lives and the transformative impact they can have on our mental and physical health, especially for those experiencing from chronic stress and trauma. Whether you’re a teacher struggling with post-pandemic burnout or a student living with stress, it’s never too early or too late to begin your healing journey with CMBM.
Create your own daily mindfulness practice with our Self-Care Basics or explore our model more deeply by enrolling in our February Online Professional Training Program in Mind-Body Medicine.