May is mental health awareness month. May is a time to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and help reduce the stigma many experiences. Mental Health Awareness Month is designed to highlight the importance of taking care of your mental wellness. It’s also a great time to share valuable resources and learn where you can get mental health support.
Mental Health Awareness Month was started in 1949 by Mental Health America, and each year the organization chooses a theme. The theme for 2022 is Back to the Basics, which focuses on teaching people the fundamentals of mental health now that we are two years into the pandemic.
The Back to the Basics curriculum has helpful resources such as Hop off the Train, “Do you feel like your mind is constantly racing? It’s like a train running through a million thoughts, thinking about the past, the future, or all the things that went wrong or could go wrong. As people struggling with anxiety or trauma, instead of staying grounded on the platform, we run and launch ourselves on the anxiety train and our minds go somewhere else. When this happens it’s hard to sleep, to stay focused, or be around others. The following exercise is designed to help you calm down and retrain your body and mind to stay grounded in the moment. The exercise can be used when you catch your mind wandering or if you notice you’re about to have an anxiety or panic attack.
Touch is a powerful force for keeping your mind in the here and now.
• An object can help with fidgeting and refocusing. If you find an object you like, keep in on hand and pull it out if you need it.
• Use your surroundings. If you’re on a walk, touch a fence or a wall. If you’re in the car, feel your seat or the door. If you’re trying to sleep, feel the pillow on your face.”
How does it feel? Is it cold? Rough? Does it have patterns? Describe it in your mind or out loud. Describe it in a calm, rhythmic way. Talk through it until you feel your mind and your body calm down. Feel free to interrupt your thoughts with words of affirmation like, “I’ve got this,” or “I’m going to be ok.”
These tips are helpful. Savannah has an incredible local resource that provides mental health resources. We proudly feature HUGS and share their services during mental health awareness month.
HUGS mission is to make exceptional behavioral health counseling accessible to all motivated individuals and to train and utilize compassionate volunteer professionals to meet community counseling needs. No one seeking professional counseling will be denied services. HUGS volunteers will continue to provide and expand their unique and unduplicated approach to filling our community’s critical behavioral health needs.
We believe that socially conscious therapists, motivated participants, and community support can result in exceptional counseling services at no cost to the taxpayer. We believe that every human being has value and should be treated with dignity and respect. We believe in a holistic approach to counseling, addressing all aspects of the therapeutic process: emotional, mental, and spiritual. We emphasize giving a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” by encouraging responsibility and accountability and by promoting independence versus enabling and dependence.
If you want to learn more about HUGS Savannah, please visit, https://www.headsupsavannah.org/about.