The Tri-County Health Care Foundation recently awarded a $2,500 grant to the Henning School District to help create a new calming space for students.

The purpose of the calming space will be to create an environment where mental health triggers can be reduced through emotional focus and relaxation, according to a Tri-County Health Care news release. This designated space will be for students in kindergarten through 12th grade to calm senses, increase mindfulness and practice effective coping strategies. The new space will have comfortable seating, an iPad with mindfulness and calming apps, a weighted blanket, calm lighting and coping strategy tools such as a sound machine, therapy putty and fidgets.

There has been an increase in the number of students struggling with depression and anxiety in recent years. Students experiencing panic attacks benefit from a quiet, calming space, and this new area will provide a better environment than the bathroom or nurse’s office. It is expected to be completed and available for student use in late January or early February. The space will be located in the counseling office so students have quick access to these services.

“We saw a need to provide a spot for these students to turn to when in crisis. Once students learn how to use the space and effective coping strategies, they will be able to use the room on their own to process thoughts and emotions before returning to class,” said Jenna Damm, Henning K-12 school counselor. “We have been seeing an increase in students with mental health concerns missing school on a regular basis. We hope this space will give students the tools to effectively process emotions and return to class rather than leaving school.”

The TCHC Foundation Grant was created to help organizations fund activities that promote health care and education in TCHC’s service area in Wadena, Todd and Otter Tail counties. “What a great request for funds to be utilized to help take care of the mental well-being of our students while in school. We know that one of the top challenges facing our youth today are anxiety and other mental and behavioral issues,” said Ryan Damlo, Foundation executive director.