The power of bringing together health and education
How do you react when something goes wrong? Whether something small or terrible and unimaginable, Monica Evason, mindset coach and MindGym practitioner, believes that you can either be consumed by your anger and frustration or you can learn from it. Evason was faced with a situation that no parent ever wants to find themselves in -- her son was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Her incredibly challenging journey has led her from the field of education in a more traditional sense to becoming a mindset coach facilitating workshops within schools, companies and hospitals.
While her son was going through treatment, Evason felt that the support she was hoping to receive from the hospital and the school was simply not sufficient. However, she accredits the work she currently does directly to what didn’t happen for her son. Evason works with health practitioners to better prepare them for communicating with their patients, a big part of which includes listening to their needs, she says. In the current pandemic context, Evason has her work cut out for her; she spends much of her time coaching medical professionals on how to speak to patients and families, and how to manage their own stress and mental health better in times of Covid. Furthermore, learning from the difficult school reintegration her son experienced after treatment, she works to empower young survivors to speak with their peers about what they’ve been through. “It takes courage to be vulnerable. And we don’t encourage that enough in our learners. When we do, amazing things happen,” says Evason.
She believes that teachers play a phenomenal role in young people’s lives and that the more they can be empowered to know about mental health, the more these young people can understand that their brains are evolving and that strategies exist that can help them in difficult times. One of her passions is making the complex scientific information we have regarding the brain and mind more accessible. Evason explains: “When you tell a young person they have between 50-80,000 thoughts a day, that shocks them, and then you say to them, most of those are naturally negative...I’ve had 15 year olds well up and they’ve said, ‘so I’m not mad’ and I say to them, ‘no, you’re not.’
Evason stresses that it’s very important for young people to be given a safe space to openly share around issues of mental health and that they need to be listened to. And because young people spend half of their days in school, she adds that the biggest investment needs to be in our educators, as they now wear many hats - they are carers, next door neighbours, psychologists, and mentors.
To hear the full podcast episode of our conversation with Monica Evason, head over to the Learnlife Soundcloud, or join Monica live next Wednesday 20th May for a workshop on the topic of mental wellbeing and staying optimistic in the current times of Covid. This session is part of Learnlife Thrive, a workshop series for parents.