b'Community Mental Health and Wellness team takes new approach to traumaMental health has taken center stage in a national conversation about collective trauma, burnout and self-care. Community-serving organizations have a special role to play in this new conversation and the Puente Community Mental Health and Wellness team has been ready for this moment.Were starting to see a societal shift, says Alissa Clynne, an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who joined Puente in 2021. There has long been a push to destigmatize mental health. But with this large-scale shift in perspective and conversation around mental health, programs are able to respond and use that momentum.Clynne and the rest of the Community Mental Health and Wellness team, have been laser-focused on destigmatizing mental health in the past year by participating in a community-wide conversation about trauma and self-care. The departments new name, (from Behavioral Health and Recovery Services) represents the change in direction and wellness focus: Community Mental Health and Wellness. Puentes newly expanded team of culturally aware psychologists, therapists and social workers have enacted specific changes to reflect a pivot toward community-based support and group programming, as well as a strength-based approach to community counseling. It leans into the mutual support networks that already exist among friends and neighbors. There are many strategies which we all learned or relied on during the pandemic to cope. We know that there are many ways we can support ourselves and each other, says Jill Anderson, Licensed Psychologist, Psy.D Contractor Clinician at Puente.Puente also launched Start Up!, an arts curriculum in all local schools to help students cope with emotional stressors and trauma. Start Up! is not an art therapy program, but rather it uses art activities to provide social and emotional support to students and reduces anxiety, depression, and aggression. The goal is with time, students will experience a measurable increase in mindfulness, concentration, patience and the ability to collaborate.8'