If you are in a circumstance in which you are being abused and anyway physically, emotionally, verbally, or sexually reach out for help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.7233. Visit www.safehavenofashland.org for more information about Ashland County domestic violence resources.
The delta variant, vaccine mandates, and other news is creating a heightened sense of anxiety for all of us. One way to reduce anxiety is to engage your hobbies and interests. In tense times, it’s important to double down on the hobbies and interests that nourish your spirit. Often, it’s these things that define us as individuals and bring meaning to our lives. Whether it’s playing a sport, caring for a pet, an artistic or musical endeavor, home improvement projects, or spending time in nature, make sure you are engaging in these essential activities as it strengthens your ability to cope with the stress of difficult times.
Recovery is defined as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. Often underneath an addiction is the experience of childhood trauma in the form of abuse, neglect, loss, or lack of a stable home life. People use substances to cover up the pain that results from the memories. If you are experiencing an addiction to drugs or alcohol please reach out for help. Healing is absolutely possible and there are caring people ready to help you on that journey.
Governor DeWine has declared August 31 Overdose Awareness Day. If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs of any kind, you already know that recovery is going to require change. You may fear both the physical and emotional withdrawal you'll experience from not having the substance... Recovery is within your reach. There are amazing medical and behavioral health supports in our area that will help you be successful. The first step is to talk to a safe and trusted support person, and tell them you need help. Take that first step and you'll find there are caring people who will go the rest of the journey with you.
This school year is starting off with more COVID challenges. There are a couple things we, as parents, need to keep in mind to help ourselves manage the stress and not pass our anxiety on to our kids. The first-to remember is, modeling is the greatest form of teaching... so ANXIOUS PARENTS MAKE ANXIOUS KIDS. This leads to my second point... parents, you need to practice your own mental-health-self-care. Take time every day to talk to your closest friends, read, exercise, or engage in your favorite hobby. By recharging your battery you’ll be able to share your calm with your children.
The 21-22 school year is beginning. This can be a time of anxiety and fear for many. Starting a new grade or at a new school brings many uncertainties. Uncertainty is a part of life. Rather than fear new experiences, learn to manage your anxious thoughts. Practice expressing your fears out loud or on paper. Journal, write letters, or share your feelings and frustrations with people you trust. Find new and positive ways to look at the changes ahead. You will get through this and be a stronger, wiser person on the other side.
It's important for parents to know that helping your children grow up emotionally-healthy does not require an advanced degree. Parents or caregivers: you have all you need to help your kids grow up emotionally resilient. Giving them structure, encouragement, pointing out their strengths, and openly showing them your unconditional love will go far in them becoming healthy-mature adults. If you're struggling as a parent, don't be afraid to ask for help. Programs like Appleseed’s SPARK program or your local Help-Me-Grow program are designed to help you be successful.
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The American Counseling Association writes: Minority Mental Health Month is a nationwide effort developed by Mental Health America to “shed light on the multitude of mental health experiences within Black, Indigenous, People of Color and others that face disproportionate inequities due to systemic barriers and historical adversity.” Marginalized, oppressed, and disenfranchised people have unique concerns, trauma, stress, obstacles, and challenges because of historical experiences, cultural differences, and social disparities.
What is forgiveness? According to the Mayo Clinic forgiveness involves “a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.” It is not forgetting the act that hurt you. However, forgiving can lessen the offense’s hold on you and take away the remaining control the person who hurt you has on you.
Appleseed earned the 2021 Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, a service of Candid. By sharing metrics that highlight the progress that Appleseed is making toward its mission, the organization is helping donors move beyond simplistic ways of nonprofit evaluation such as overhead ratios.
Everyday you are a new person. You've just completed 24 more hours of a lifetime of learning and growing. Today you can make different choices. Remember to catch yourself in-self-talk that uses words like “never” or “always” and then remind yourself that you are a new person today and you are going to be kind to yourself and make a positive difference in the world.
Appleseed Community Mental Health Center (“Appleseed”) is offering FREE events throughout May aimed at reducing the impact of COVID-19 and other mental health stressors. You do not need to be a current or past client of Appleseed to benefit from these events!
Like every story, there is a beginning, middle, and end. My story has a beginning that no person would ever dream of. My middle, although lengthy and devastating, is what keeps me different from anyone else. My ending is not only another beginning but also what holds me together most days. Some of us wish for an ending so that things can be over just to be able to move on. I wish for an ending in a way that means I get to start a new chapter because that means more healing and more time. Let’s face it, that’s really what we need.
Mental health and wellness requires we take a holistic approach. As Mr. Miyagi said in the 1st karate kid movie, “our whole life is a balance”. To be truly mentally healthy, we need to make sure that we are taking care of our mind, body and spirit. We do that through activities and exercises that connect us to those domains of our life. For instance, reading strengthens and relaxes our mind, hiking strengthens our body, and faith practices strengthen our spirit. By using a holistic approach we can handle life and stresses much more effectively. Holistic Behavioral Healthcare is part of our mission at Appleseed.
Spring is here. As we watch the crocus poke through the ground and enjoy more and more daylight, it's a good time to recommit ourselves to our mental health care. Do some mental health spring cleaning. Identify a habit that prevents you from being your best. It could be the habit of criticizing others or negative self-talk. Whatever it is, commit yourself to being self-aware and to quickly replacing the behavior with a healthy alternative. Plan ahead and be ready. Speak a word of praise instead of criticism or replace negativity with encouragement. With a steady effort, you can change that habit that is holding you back.
One of the things that can raise our anxiety is how we choose to think about our problems. In our modern culture we see our stressors as bad and something to be avoided. Previous generations took the position that our adversities are things that teach us life lessons and make us stronger. So let me encourage us today to examine the circumstances we are in and begin to ask “what can I learn about myself from this?” How can I use these stressors to make me a better person? By doing this I can make what was causing me anxiety into something that gives me strength.
April is sexual assault awareness month. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports that every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Sexual assault can range from harassment to direct physical sexual abuse. Everyone has a role to play in preventing sexual assault. There are many different ways that you can step in or make a difference if you see someone at risk. The key to keeping others safe is learning how to intervene in a way that fits the situation and your comfort level. Do what you can to interrupt the situation. A simple distraction can give the person at risk a chance to get to a safe place.
March is women’s history month. There are multiple examples of how women have taken the lead to positively impact our understanding and treatment of mental health. One such hero is Nely Bly. Nely was an investigative journalist. In 1887 she went undercover at a New York psychiatric hospital. After 10 days as an inpatient, Bly wrote about her experiences in an exposé for New York World. Her report got the attention of the state legislature and triggered new funding and reforms in the treatment of people with mental health conditions. Her report was later published in the book “Ten Days In A Mad-House”, which I highly recommend.
Some of the things that cause us stress relate to questions that do not have answers. Things like “why do bad things happen to us?” In these kinds of situations our coping skills need to focus on giving-expression to our experience and emotions. One of the best ways to do that is to explore your creative side. There are many ways to express yourself. Journaling, writing poetry or songs, drawing, painting, sculpting, playing music or building something. Find your way of creatively expressing what you are experiencing, thinking or feeling. It can provide the outlet you need to process your emotions during a difficult time.
The life of St. Patrick was full of trauma including being kidnapped and enslaved at age 16. He faced his difficulties using a forward-facing approach, a deep seated belief his life had meaning, and serving others. Here is a portion of one of St. Patrick's recorded prayers to help give you encouragement. “I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me; God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me afar, a near, alone or in a multitude.” ― St Patrick
Teen Dating Violence includes four types of behavior: Physical Violence Sexual Violence, Psychological Aggression, and Stalking. It can take place in-person or electronically, such as repeated texting or posting sexual pictures of a partner online without consent. Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name-calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship—but these behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence. Many teens do not report unhealthy behaviors, because they are afraid to tell family and friends. If you are a teenager experiencing abusive behaviors please reach out to a trusted adult or call our Safe Haven program at 419-289-8085, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
February is Black History Month, and I want to highlight important ideas from Black leaders that support your mental health. Martin Luther King Junior said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” Finding ways to build honest and supportive relationships is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health and to increase your feelings of wellbeing.
To give our children the best chance for being strong and resilient you need to be an encourager and teach them to self-encourage. All human beings need encouragement. Encouraging your child not only keeps them feeling more positive and motivated, it also gives them an inner voice that will help them to encourage themselves for the rest of their life.
With the hope of the vaccine ending the pandemic, it is important for us to acknowledge that we are dealing with losses experienced at the hands of the virus. For some, it is the loss of a loved one. For others, it is the loss of life experience, work, and finances. It is important to acknowledge your losses and your feelings of grief. I encourage you to talk to your friends or close family. Grief can happen in response to loss of daily routines and ways-of- life that usually bring us comfort and a feeling of stability. Acknowledge your feelings and process them with friends. Consider what you have learned from all of the experiences you've had during COVID-19 and how you can take this knowledge and build informed changes into your life going forward.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Human Trafficking can happen to anyone, but some people are more vulnerable than others. Become aware of the warning signs and determine to be an advocate for those experiencing this horrible crime by visiting https://humantraffickinghotline.org/what-human-trafficking.
Today, we appropriately set aside time to remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His Letter from a Birmingham Jail is one of the most moving reads I have encountered. Many things he said over the course of his life can help us all live more fulfilling and resilient lives. He said related to the power of love and forgiveness, We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”. Let us all remember the life, legacy, and enduring wisdom of Dr. King.
COVID-19 has changed how we celebrate this year. I encourage you to think of ways to use the technology available to make these holidays special. Use a social media app to get family together and make a craft. Send out the list of needed supplies and let everyone get what they need before the meeting. Read stories to your grandchildren over the phone or computer. Use the same to Share stories of Christmases past. Use the Netflix party app to remotely watch a holiday movie together and chat. There are still ways to celebrate this season. Find creative ways to adapt. It will help manage the loneliness you may be dealing with this year.
This week is a week where many of us are celebrating holidays or holy days, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanza are on many of our minds. Rather than allowing these special days to become stressful by focusing on planning and getting tasks done, focus on the relationships and deeper the meaning of each celebration. The deeper message in all of these holidays can give us hope and strengthen our resilience. Allow them to enrich your faith while you treasure the people in your life whom you love.
With COVID-19 affecting our holidays, schools going more and more remote, and the lingering post-election stress it is important to ask ourselves questions that help us manage our stress response. The Greater Good Science Center poses a few questions to help us think about how we are managing and reacting got what is going on around us (Smith & Suttie 10.2020).
This is Thanksgiving week. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and the readiness to show appreciation and return kindness. Harvard Medical School writes that “The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Gratitude encompasses all of these. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you receive, tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies ...at least partially... outside themselves. Gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves.