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New campaign encourages mental health breaks at Gwinnett parks

CHOA and their Strong4Life team, Live Healthy Gwinnett County, Gwinnett Parks and Recreation create partner for the Raising Resilience campaign.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The next time you visit a Gwinnett County Park to unplug and unwind, don't forget your phone. 

While a marriage between nature and technology may seem peculiar, therapists at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta said the "Raising Resilience" signage campaign, which involves a smartphone and QR code, is designed to help people slow down.

“The idea behind this is to give people permission to stop and think about how they actually feel," explains Jody Baumstein, Licensed Therapist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. 

New scannable signs were placed along various walking paths at several Gwinnett Parks last month. Once you scan the QR code with your smartphone, you'll be connected to videos and exercises on how to calm your mind and be present.

Leaders said the idea behind the program is to reach children and families through everyday activities and provide a resource to talk about mental health and learn coping skills.

Parkgoers said it's working.

“The more times I walked by and saw the sign – I was like let me just check this out…and I scanned it," Craig Spratt said.

Spratt said he's been walking the Shorty Howell Park for several years and thinks the addition of the signs is a great way to reach people that haven't been taught those coping mechanisms.

“I’m kind of from the old school, so back then we didn’t have a way to talk about it… and I just think it’s really cool they’re doing it," Spratt added.

The effort was put on in collaboration with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and their Strong4Life team, Live Healthy Gwinnett and Gwinnett Parks and Recreation

Leaders behind the movement said it's just another way to teach people that taking care of your mental health can happen at any time anywhere.

"We all have emotions. We all stress. So, therefore, we need to do things to take care of it. And part of doing this collaboration in the parks is about helping people see that it can be done in everyday moments," Baumstein said.

You can find these signs at Shorty Howell Park in Duluth, Mountain Park in Lilburn, Little Mulberry Park in Dacula, and Lenora Park in Snellville.

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