Getting Stressed Out Students to ‘Change to Chill’

High school can be a stress minefield. From sports, homework and activities… to the ever-present cellphones and social media, it’s not a huge shock that teens are stressed.

“Unfortunately, it is a growing problem,” says Susan Nygaard, a Community Health Improvement Manager with Allina Health.

Nygaard says Allina Health conducts community health assessments that consistently find stress as a top health concern for teens and their families. A few years ago, the company launched a website and created the Change to Chill campaign aimed at tackling the growing mental health crisis. For the 2018-2019 school year, Allina is partnering with nine select schools – including Coon Rapids High School – to turn the tide.

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KSTP 5 Eyewitness News: Program Aims to Help High School Students Manage Stress

A new program is helping students in Minnesota and Wisconsin manage their stress.

It’s called Change To Chill and this year Allina Health selected nine high schools to participate.

One of those schools is Hopkins High School.

“It’s really nice that we have this opportunity,” said Nimo Gelle, a senior at Hopkins High School.

The web-based program aims to help students manage stress and find balance.

“It definitely prepared me a lot more for senior year,” said Karina Lara Isiordia, a senior at Hopkins High School.

Allina Health explored this idea after receiving community feedback.

“In 2013 and 2016, the community brought forward some needs regarding mental health specifically with teens in our community,” said Kaila Jordan, MPH, Allina Health Change to Chill coordinator.

Allina Health officials say that the most recent Minnesota student survey shows there was an increase in student stress, anxiety and depression.

“Every day we’re working with students who are telling us that they’re stressed out about something,” said Kelly Richey, Hopkins High School social worker.

That’s why schools like Hopkins High School are using simple exercises and themed days to help with all stress levels during Change to Chill Week.

To read more, click here.

CIHS to benefit from Change to Chill program

Through a partnership between Allina Health and the Cambridge-Isanti School District, the high school will benefit from the Allina Health’s Change to Chill program for the 2018-2019 school year. Read more here.

‘Change to Chill’ will be implemented this year at Hopkins High

Hopkins High School is one of nine high schools, and the only high school in Hennepin County, to be awarded the Change to Chill School Partnership. To learn more about Hopkins’ involvement in Change to Chill and teen mental well-being, read the article.

Change to Chill in New Ulm

As spring heats up, Allina Health and New Ulm Public Schools are planning ways to chill out. Learn more here.

Change to Chill on Kare 11

Allina Health child and teen psychologist, Dr. Brian Kovach, shares ways to help teenagers manage stress, as well as promotes Allina Health’s Change to Chill program to help teens keep calm.

The Chiller Challenge for teens to ‘chillax’

Chillers are visuals that help teens and their peers slow down and step back from stress. The Chiller Challenge is a contest that gives teens the opportunity to create the next Chillers for the Change to Chill website.

Allina Health psychologist, Lisa Herman, Psy.D., L.P., joined KARE 11 News @ 4 to explain more about the Challenge.

Click here to watch the news segment.


Girl Scouts River Valley Host Change to Chill Overnight

Once again, Allina Health is proud to partner with Girl Scouts River Valley. This year, in addition to Health Powered Kids patches that can be earned, Girl Scouts can attend the first ever Change to Chill overnight and earn a Change to Chill patch!

[Girl Scouts – Friday, August 18th, 2017] Everyone gets stressed – but you can learn simple tips and tricks to get perspective on things that matter. Start your school year off right with Girl Scouts River Valleys and Change to Chill by Allina Health! Learn stress-busting techniques, practice chilling out with mandalas and art journaling, and chill with your friends at this super fun overnight event! Get your adrenaline rush on the high ropes and rock climbing, then wind-down with some yoga before bed.

Girls will earn the Allina Health Change to Chill patch. Dinner and breakfast included.

To learn more about this event, click here.

To learn more about patches that can be earned through Health Powered Kids, click here.


Shakopee High students help peers cope with stress

Shakopee Valley News [January 28, 2017] – During homeroom, Jennie Diep-Nguyen, 16, said she would normally be on her phone or catching up on homework. Either way, she would be stressed.

Instead, Diep-Nguyen spent a recent Friday homeroom before lunch laughing with two friends and pouring gold glitter into a small bottle of water.

It was the week before holiday break, so they had just finished end-of-the-year tests.

“It’s a good opportunity to get away from all of it,” Diep-Nguyen said.

The three Shakopee High School juniors were making “calming jars” they could shake when stressed out. While the glitter settles they are suppose to work on calming breathing techniques.

This was just one of five sessions about de-stressing seniors Betsy Berens, Sarah Gentrup, Makenzie Johnson and Mikayla Thompson organized in the fall as part of the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program.

“We got to pick from different options and I just felt like we all connected most with what Change to Chill had to offer with stress management,” Berens said.

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Allina Health wins Minnesota Business Magazines’ Leaders in Health Care Award for Community Outreach

MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 28, 2016) — Allina Health was honored with Minnesota Business Magazine’s Leaders in Health Care Award for Community Outreach for its Change to Chill™ program at an awards banquet on Thursday, October 27. Allina Health created Change to Chill ( in response to the mental health crisis among teens, as revealed in a recent community health needs assessment.

“Allina Health is leading the way by providing teens the tools they need to stress less and care for their mental well-being,” The Minnesota Business Magazine noted. “Change to Chill is a free, online resource that provides stress reduction skills, life balance techniques, mindfulness, resiliency, deep-breathing activities and health education resources for teens.”

Click here to continue reading and view all winners and finalists for the 2016 Leader in Health Care Awards.