Playtime: mental health events and resources, plus free summer activities

jennifer marx

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As I searched for statistics to come up with free local resources, it’s clear that the need is widespread and that the pandemic “has exacerbated existing disparities in mental health services.” Many of us can see the negative effects, although some have found a better fit in distance learning, so I won’t share all of that. Some of the results were articles with signs that your child might need extra help and some of the virtual and in-person events coming up this month will also address those signs.

The Edmonds School District continues to offer advice and resources online, including Care Solace Care Concierge available 24/7 at 888-515-0595. Care Solace is a free, confidential service provided to students, staff, and their families by the Edmonds School District that “can help you quickly find treatment options that are right for you, no matter the circumstances.” You can visit and you can search for yourself or get help via video chat, email or phone by clicking “Make an Appointment”. You can find all Edmonds School District resources at

Locally, there are several upcoming mental health awareness events for students and adults.

The Mukilteo-based nonprofit leadership launch asks its students to plan a service project that benefits the community in a way that is meaningful to the students. This year’s project, “Emotion Commotion: Connecting and Leading Through Mental Wellness and Self-Expression,” will take place Saturday, May 21, from noon to 4 p.m., at Everett Community College (Henry M. Jackson Conference Center.) Emotion Conmotion is a free event for middle school 8th graders and “reflects students’ collective solution to feeling disconnected from each other and community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The event will feature keynote speakers (including board member Mohamed Abdi from Tukwila) and students can also take part in workshops focusing on the themes of “mental well-being through movement, self-expression through ‘art and leadership through service and connection with the community’. Leadership Launch says it offers a diverse selection of activities that “introverted and extroverted students can feel comfortable engaging in, ranging from yoga and martial arts to poetry and a nature walk. “. The event is free, but registration is required at

YWCA Seattle King Snohomish partners with forward-thinking Olympian Dominique Dawes to present “Winning Within: Resilience, Mental Health & the Next Generation,” which “will explore how athletics and wellness intersect with justice social and identity by centering the experiences of accomplished Black female athletes across generations. This free virtual event on Tuesday, May 24 at noon is “a cross-generational conversation about athletics and the development of resilience, strength and well-being of our young people and our community”. It aims to help “people of all ages recognize the warning signs, coping strategies, facts and statistics regarding mental health”. Among the speakers include Dominique Dawes, gold medalist and member of the “Magnificent Seven”, and local star athletes Tziarra King (forward, OL Reign) and Amara Cunningham (gymnast, University of Washington.) For more informa and to register, visit

The Edmonds Waterfront Center is partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to offer a Zoom presentation titled “Ending the Silence for Students” on Wednesday, May 25 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. This virtual presentation helps people of all ages to recognize warning signs, find coping strategies and learn facts and statistics about mental health. Attendees will “hear personal perspectives on living with mental health issues and learn how you can help reduce the stigma.” You can visit to register and get more information. You can find out more about Edmonds Waterfront Center programs and activities at

While these next options are not mental health resources, I do know that starting a hobby during the pandemic has helped me look a little less at the COVID numbers per 100,000 and has been a piece of the puzzle because I got help to take care of my own mind. health. I started birding and while the free time and fancy equipment certainly helps, you can see a Bald Eagle and an Iridescent Brewer’s Robin when parked at Alderwood Target more often than not.

There are two free summer activities available locally for those who thrive on social time or physical activity. Planet Fitness is offering a free summer membership for teens ages 14-19. The free subscription lasts from May 16 to August 31 and you can register, with the help of an adult, online or in a club. The closest locations when I searched for their site using “Lynnwood, WA” are at Lake Forest Park Towne Center, Mill Creek off the Bothell-Everett Freeway, and Seattle on Aurora near 130th . Details and registration can be found at connects kids with bowling alleys that offer two free games available each day. Locally, kids ages 2-13 can play for free Monday through Thursday this summer at Lynnwood Bowl and Skate. At Kenmore Lanes, children ages 2 to 15 can play for free seven days a week. When searching for nearby bowling locations, details can be found once you click on each location. There is also a FAQ on shoe rental and parent involvement.

Movie at Marymoor Park.

This week, at a decidedly not free event, we packed the van to watch a movie at Marymoor. We kind of went to get rid of the bad mood that we accumulated from the catch-up that we all played since one of our teammates got COVID before big projects and important tests. Tickets for this event often sell out and movies start late if you have younger kids, but a car full of people (and your dog, if you like) costs $30 to watch a movie and listen to audio via your car radio. There were cupcakes for sale and a food truck and an option to watch the movie outside the car or park in a row that allows an open hatch. It was a fun option for watching a movie without being inside a theater and staying out too late on a school night. We weren’t really near anyone else other than the person who scanned our ticket and anyone queuing for the toilet. The location is really beautiful and we were able to drive out and get home easily since we got home around midnight. For dates and titles of summer deals, you can visit

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, a mother of two boys in Edmonds, is always on the lookout for a fun place to take the kids that tires them out enough to go to bed on time.

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Richard V. Johnson