Thriving is not the absence of struggle; it’s the ability to work through adversity and recover and grow from the experience.

The Essentials to Thriving by Dr. Read Sulik gives your child the skills to overcome stress and trauma, to IMAGINE THRIVING!

Essentials to Thriving

  • SLEEP - Create a regular sleep schedule for your child that is consistent.

  • EAT - Provide your child (or encourage an older child to seek out) with a healthy, well-balanced diet with few processed foods and the right ratio of healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

  • MOVE - Encourage your child to move! Take a walk! Throw a ball around! Staying physical improves the body's “recovery time” during moments of over-stimulation and anxiety.

  • BREATHE - Remind your child to breathe. Teach them about diaphragmatic breathing – with practice, it calms the body and mind.

  • THINK - Teach your students to welcome positive thoughts. Break the cycle of negativity. Encourage them to try and slow racing thoughts.

  • SPEAK - Help your child find the right words to communicate their innermost thoughts and feelings. Be gentle and encourage them to share with you or give them your permission to speak with another trusted adult.

  • CONNECT - Engage and support. Check-in with your student. Text them a “Hello! I’m thinking about you!” or take them out for a hamburger. They want to be with you more than they will admit.

  • BUILD - Help the child or teen build experiences that are meaningful and do not overstimulate. Positive experiences will open young minds to all the wonderful possibilities the world holds for them. Plus you will create lifelong memories.

  • TEND TO THE SPIRIT - Encourage your students to find activities that help them find their peace. Whether it’s art, nature, faith, music, athletics, writing, reading or meditation. These kinds of things help to create mindfulness that will grow the student’s sense of self and inner wellbeing. Meditation, the practice of mindfulness, is an especially helpful and highly effective treatment for anxiety and depression.

  • SEEK - Help your child SEEK THRIVING and know when to seek help if your student is struggling. “If things are getting in the way of your student thriving, of achieving their optimum potential, that’s why there are adults in the world. Help them navigate through.” Dr. Read Sulik

Community Outreach


Need help raising awareness and understanding of mental well-being at your school or office space? Imagine Thriving is always happy to work with you to help bring your awareness-building event to life.

Imagine Thriving actively engages and works with schools and communities to raise awareness and understanding of mental health and well-being. Through film screenings, student-led presentations, peer-to-peer discussions, and gatherings designed to encourage healthy conversation and education, our programs are developed to discuss both the signs of distress and how to “be well.”


As part of our outreach initiative, Imagine Thriving creates understanding and eliminates the stigma surrounding mental health through age-appropriate education. Our conversations detail the signs and symptoms of mental illness, and the steps that students and community members should take to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Our work helps to lower the barriers around mental well-being, including the lack of awareness and understanding about the mental-health issues adults and students can face, and the limited knowledge about resources and other support services available to students and caregivers.

Films and Conversations

Imagine Thriving understands that storytelling is key to understanding. Documentary and narrative films, combined with engaging panel discussions, bring to life ideas that originally appeared nebulous or abstract. Our films approach sensitive topics with care, and our panels reflect the real-world experiences of students, parents, caregivers and mental health professionals.


This feature-length documentary created by students for students, explores teens’ mental health as experienced through their own perspective.

Driven by a desire to understand why her best friend killed herself at 16, writer and director Jacqueline Monetta, invites teens living with mental illness to share their struggles, some of which include suicide attempts.

Through Jacqueline’s intimate one-on-one interviews, the audience learns about depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide attempts, and the importance of relationships as well as mental health treatments. As their stories unfold, they assure the audience that mental illness, like physical illness, can and must be treated.




Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span? Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that with her own kids and learned that the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. She wondered about the impact of all this time online as well as the friction generated in homes and schools around negotiating screen time—friction she knew all too well.


In SCREENAGERS, as with her award-winning documentaries on mental health, Delaney takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics, and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.



To schedule a screening and conversation at your school or community space, contact Communications Specialist Sean Coffman at or (701) 235-7341.


Student Outreach Teams 

Imagine Thriving Student Outreach Teams are made up of passionate and motivated high school and college students who want to break down the stigma of mental illness and promote mental wellness. These peer-to-peer connections are essential to maintaining healthy environments for all students to thrive.


Opportunities to engage with Student Outreach Teams are varied. They may include participating in community panel discussions and sharing their personal stories or helping to gather and design educational resources to share with the student body. We will create a spot and position for every student with an interest in our outreach teams.


If your school doesn’t presently have an Imagine Thriving Outreach Team, we would be happy to help you organize one. Imagine Thriving requires that the outreach team be overseen by an adult, preferably a school counselor or teacher who is passionate about helping their students. We want to help you be a part of the change, so let’s do this together.


To learn more about how to become a Student Outreach Team member or to start an outreach team at your school, contact Youth Engagement Specialist Baylee Engquist at or (701) 235-7341.


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Imagine Thriving, an initiative of
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota

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