It’s part of the department’s overall mission of individual, family and community education – the wellbeing of New Mexicans – and as families adjust to a new reality amid the COVID-19 outbreak, faculty and students at The University of New Mexico’s College of Education & Human Sciences have never been more committed.

Every two weeks, UNM’s Department of Individual, Family, & Community Education (IFCE) will publish a new issue of ‘Wellbeing at School and at Home in New Mexico.’

The first issue, published June 3, includes thoughts, ideas, and resources from the department’s four areas of study and work - counseling, educational psychology, family & child studies, and nutrition.  

“As the semester was coming to a close, we had some discussions about how we could contribute to New Mexico and the world around us during these new circumstances,” said Jay Parkes, professor of Educational Psychology. “We came upon this idea to pull together resources from our disciplines while trying to keep it New Mexico focused as much as possible.”

Parkes said faculty consider this an “offering,” crafting each new issue with the needs of all New Mexicans in mind. The major theme in the department’s first issue covers what the department is calling “home-summering.”

“We’ve worked through home-schooling and are turning the corner to home-summering,” Parkes said. “Our children are still at home, now without formal schooling, and without access to the usual summer camps, parks, extended families, and friends.”

A reoccurring theme in every issue will highlight the gains and losses people face during these challenging times, as well as lists of simple pleasures.

“We’re gaining more time at home. We’re gaining more time with our family,” Parkes said. “We’re really trying to point out what some of those gains are as we continue into a new reality.”

Parkes noted the team also knows people are experiencing major losses. He said they’ve taken into consideration that individuals and families are losing relationships, jobs, and face-to-face interactions. He said their goal is to make sure they acknowledge the challenges people are facing, while helping them work through these struggles. A lot of the resources come from news sources, scholarly articles, and even local sources.

“One of our team members talked to the Children’s Grief Center here in Albuquerque, about children and how they grieve,” Parkes said. “That’s important to us because even if a child doesn’t know anyone who has died from COVID-19, losing their interactions with their peers and teachers at school, that amounts to grieving as well.”

Other major topics discussed in upcoming publications will include summer celebrations, relationships, career development and as students gear up to go back to school, Parkes said the department is already gathering as many resources as possible.

“We’re not going to snap back to a pre-March reality, we’re re-inventing realities as we move forward,” he said. “There might have to be a few issues as students of all ages return to school.”

According to Parkes, he and his colleagues are journaling their own experiences and will share some of them in upcoming editions.

“In our department, well-being is a foundation in everything we do,” he said. “This being our offering is really important to us because who we are as people and who we are as professionals will help contribute to the way New Mexicans move through this time.”

Visit Wellbeing at School and at Home in New Mexico for a free subscription to new issues.