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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Participation Guidelines. More information regarding the District’s response can be found here

S24 Episode 02: Boosting Mental Wellness


Gina Sharp, President and CEO of Linden Oaks Behavior Health, comments on the mental health pandemic that has occurred with COVID-19 and gives tips for returning to work, coping with stress, connecting with nature and getting the rest we need.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit

Quotes from the episode:

“COVID-19 brought about a physical illness for individuals but underlying that physical illness we’re seeing another pandemic occur within our country and that is a mental health pandemic… Pre-COVID, 25% of individuals were diagnosed with a mental illness. Post COVID, that rate has gone up to 40%.  We are seeing a surge in people suffering from anxiety or depression and we’re also seeing an increase in substance abuse as well. We’re really trying to identify how to help our community recover from the pandemic.

“There are many different ways that people can relieve their stress. Getting outside and being active is incredibly important. It can be as simple as a daily walk. I personally enjoy early morning walks and listening to the birds chirp outside. There are so many great trails to run or bike or walk along in Naperville…. It’s a way to help be in touch with nature.

“There’s also art, music, dance – they are great ways to relieve stress. I know that the Park District offers so many different options where people can find something new to do.  Creating art, whether it’s drawing, coloring, painting or pottery is relaxing and allows you to use your imagination and it provides a great sense of satisfaction to see your masterpiece. Sometimes we’re so busy in our day to day work that we don’t see where the end is on something. Being able to see a masterpiece at the end is fulfilling and feels good.” – Gina Sharp

Mental Health basics article from the Centers for Disease Control

Resources from Linden Oaks Behavior Health

  • If you or someone you know is in active crisis, you can call the Linden Oaks help line at 630-305-5027 or call 911.
  • You can also call the Linden Oaks help line to schedule an appointment for mental health assistance in a non-crisis situation.
  • Suggestions for transitioning from work to home at the end of a work shift: (Download the .pdf here.)


An infographic with suggestions for finding moments of rest and stress relief during your day:(Download the .pdf here.)


Naperville Park District provides year-round activities for the community. Visit Park It In Naperville page for the most recent seasonal ideas for fun and relaxation.

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On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
© 2021 Naperville Park District