Are you noticing the cooler weather and less daylight are correlating to decreased feelings of well-being? If so, you aren’t alone. Keep reading for simple lifestyle choices that may benefit your physical and mental health during the coming months.
• FOOD CHOICES
You might notice that comfort food quickly boosts your mood. Have you also noticed that you have a “crash” sometime after consuming these foods?
Research suggests that healthier food options correlate with a more sustainable sense of well-being.
A helpful hint to finding more sustainable nutrition in a grocery store is to shop around the perimeter, where the fresh and unprocessed foods are usually found.
• ACTIVITY LEVELS
Are you moving your body less during these darker months? It is important to engage in physical activity (of any type) year-round to maintain your physical well-being, which is directly linked to mental well-being.
Research shows physical activity does not need to be rigorous to be beneficial. Take care to always be mindful of your personal body needs and consult your doctor if you aren’t sure.
• INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Are you feeling hopeless when communicating with someone close to you? Sometimes communication styles and miscommunications cause us stress and can lead to feelings of depression over time. If this sounds familiar to you, consult a mental health professional to work on interpersonal communication skills.
If you are in an unsafe relationship, there is help. Reach out for help when you are being abused. A national resource for getting the help you need is the national domestic violence hotline: 1.800.799.7233
• SLEEP SCHEDULES
Feeling tired, or that you cannot get restful sleep?
Sleep is often the number one culprit for poor healing both physically and mentally.
Without proper sleep and sleep hygiene (the routine you follow to get yourself ready to fall and stay asleep), your body and mind can both suffer.
The general guideline for an adult is 7-9 hours of sleep each night for an adult, 8-10 hours for a teen, 9-12 hours for school age children and even more sleep for younger children. If you suspect sleep could be hindering your ability to function properly, you might consider consulting your doctor to find a solution.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month
Suicide has a devastating impact on us all. Risk factors for suicide vary greatly including single life events, longstanding mental health struggles, or the impact of experiencing lifelong trauma, to name a few.
Unaddressed conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance problems can increase risk for suicide. Most people who take an active role in managing their mental health concerns engage in life’s ups and downs without considering suicide. If you or someone you care for struggle with mental health concerns, talk to someone you trust, or seek professional help.
Important Suicide Prevention related information:
■ As of July 16th, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has changed to 988. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's 10-digit number — 1-800-273-8255 — will remain active, but calls will be routed to 988. People who call or text the number will be connected to a trained counselor at a crisis center closest to them.
■ At 9pm (EST) on September 13th, PBS is set to air “Facing Suicide”, a film that explores the experience of those impacted by suicide and as well as research being conducted to improve prevention and treatment efforts.
■ Upcoming Luncheon to Raise Awareness in Waterford: September 17th from 12pm-2pm, the American Legion Post 285 is hosting “Breaking Bread with Heroes”; free registration at https://rb.gy/ucammr
-Looking to volunteer for this event? Contact Patti at 878-208-8186 or email@example.com, there’s a need for volunteers to cover shifts on September 15th and 16th from 9am – 5pm for “slicing, dicing, and meal prep” and on September 17th from 7am – 2pm for “cooking for Breaking Bread with Heroes”
■ This years’ American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk will be held at Presque Isle Rotary Pavilion at 11am on September 24th.
For more information, please contact:
Contact: Julie Mehlenbacher 814-230-2455 / julieAFSP@gmail.com
Gina Bizzarro (814-504-0175 / ginaAFSP@gmail.com
Seth McBride is a student attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania pursuing a Bachelor of Art in Psychology with a minor in music. He will be interning with us until August. Seth’s hoping to someday work with college students and married couples using the enneagram as his main lens.
Seth is offering a FREE 2-part group series on the Enneagram!!!
What is the enneagram?
The enneagram is a tool for self-awareness and healthy interpersonal relationships.
How does it work?
The enneagram is a system that identifies 9 primary/basic personality structures and then goes into depth on the underlying motivations that our unconscious brain is using (essentially as a blueprint) for how to handle all situations thrown at it.
Think of the nine types as the three basic primary colors red, blue, and yellow. At first it might seem like there isn’t a lot to it but once you start looking at all the different aspects of the enneagram all of a sudden, you’ve gone from the three primary colors to a complete color gradient capturing the beauty and nuance of society.
Wondering if you need to bring someone to work on your relationship in the sessions?
Absolutely not. Learning more about yourself and how your unconscious mind functions will help your communication with everyone. However, if you do have a partner or friend who’s interested they are also welcome to sign up!
There will be two part 1 options: Tuesday July 12th at 9:30am and Friday July 15th at 2pm. Part 1 is an introduction to the enneagram and discovering your type.
There will be two part 2 options: Tuesday July 26th at 9:30am and Friday July 29th at 2:00pm. Part 2 will focus on using the enneagram to develop higher self-awareness and improve communication in relationships.
We will be meeting in the workroom of the Edinboro Borough Building across the hall from the Police Station. Seating is limited so we are taking reservations now!
*You may attend Part 1 and not Part 2; however, to attend Part 2, you must have attended one of the Part 1 sessions.
To inquire about reserving a spot in the education sessions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 844.977.2847 ext 1 option 1 and leave a voice message with your contact information. Someone will reach out to you to confirm if there are spaces available for the session(s) you would like to sign up for.
The stigma of mental health issues often prevents individuals from seeking care and support. Mental Health Awareness Month is a time to highlight the importance of improving and maintaining our mental health and to work towards ending the stigma of receiving mental health treatment.
Mental Health Concerns might be expressed as excessive fear or worry, feeling so down you don’t want to get out of bed, or even thoughts of killing yourself. However, not all mental health concerns are easy to notice. Symptoms of mental illness can also look like:
• feeling easily agitated
• withdrawing from friends & family
• feeling “numb”
• trouble concentrating
• change in hunger levels
REACH OUT TO SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP
Just as with our physical health, our mental health can be improved with appropriate treatment by a trained professional. There are several ways to find a qualified professional to help with your mental health concerns, here are a few ideas:
- ask your family doctor
- an internet search for “counselors near me”
- an internet search for a specific mental health concern
- ask someone you trust who they recommend
- contact local helping agencies
A major source of support for individuals and their families experiencing concerns with mental health is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). You can use the NAMI website www.nami.org to locate the NAMI office closest to you.
Sometimes, counseling services are provided free of charge; however, most counseling is not free. If you are concerned about the cost of counseling, contact your health insurance company to ask about coverage for mental health services. Most insurance plans have mental health coverage to alleviate some of the cost for members.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, searching for a qualified professional may not be the best option for you or a loved one. In a crisis situation, seek immediate assistance by doing one or more of the following:
• contact your local crisis team
• call the suicide prevention helpline 1.800.273.8255
• text “GO” the suicide prevention helpline number: 741741
• call 911
• go to the ER
The rapid changes and uncertainty that accompanied COVID-19 have had a negative impact causing a major increase in reports of stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Concerns over getting sick, losing loved ones, financial security, and the future in general can be overwhelming. Underlying medical and mental health conditions can be exasperated during this time. To mediate the impact of COVID-19 on your overall health, we recommend developing and maintaining a variety of self-care strategies. You likely have one or more “go to” strategies for managing stress levels on a regular basis, but you may have noticed your typical methods aren’t working as well as they had in the past due to the numerous ways your life has changed over the past year.
Filling your personal “tool box” with a variety of self-care options can help improve your ability to navigate these unprecedented times. We recommend utilizing strategies that will mediate physical as well as mental health. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically during this time is especially important. Some common self-care strategies for mental wellness are:
• Maintaining a consistent routine for eating/sleeping/work/exercise
• Limiting your exposure to the news/social media
• Engaging in preferred hobbies to utilize your free time
• Focusing on the positives
• Reaching out for social/spiritual support
• Setting reasonable goals for yourself and your time
• Finding ways to reach out and help others
• Setting aside time for yourself to de-stress, relax, and recharge
• Participating in regular exercise
• Maintaining a consistent sleep routine
• Eating a healthy diet
• Drinking plenty of water
• Limiting your screen time
• Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
WHEN YOU MIGHT NEED MORE THAN JUST A “TOOL BOX” FULL OF STRATEGIES
If you have concerns about mental health symptoms developing or a worsening of symptoms, ask for help. There are a variety of ways to access help for these concerns:
• Call or reach out to a close friend or loved one for support
• Call or ask for a referral to your employee assistance program
• Reach out to someone at your school if you are a student
• Call or schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor
• Call or reach out to a spiritual advisor or someone who shares your faith
• Call or schedule an appointment with a mental health professional
• Call or reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (Erie: 814.456.1773) (Crawford/Venango: 814.333.2924)
IF YOU ARE FEELING SUICIDAL, SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY!
THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE IS 1.800.273.8255.
LOCAL SUPPORT INCLUDES:
Erie County: 814.456.2014
Crawford County: 814.724.2732
Forest/ Warren: 814.726.8413 8:30am until 5pm 1.800.406.1255 after hours
Venango County: 814.432.9111
Robin S Archer Phd
is the founder of Mindful Paths Network, a group supporting counselors in their own private practice missions to provide counseling services for children, adolescents, adults, groups, couples, and families experiencing a wide variety of behavioral and mental health concerns. Mindful Paths Network's newsletter addresses a variety of mental health concerns. This blog is an extension of the newsletter which is not currently available by email request.