Monroe YMCA recognizes Mental Health Month
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the Monroe Family YMCA encourages the public to join the conversation about mental health.
“Mental health is how we think, feel and act. The Y recognizes that we all have mental health and that it is an important component of physical health, social-emotional well-being, and an essential component of identity,” said the Y. .
“We all have a role to play in supporting each other when it comes to mental health – at the Y and in our community,” said Gabby Holland, director of mental health services. “The first step is to start talking in our communities about what mental health really is.”
Holland encourages starting the conversation about mental health and sharing these facts with friends and family:
FACT: We all have mental health, not just those living with mental illness. Everyone faces challenges in their life that can impact their mental health.
FACT: There are many things we can do every day to positively impact our mental health. Some examples: moving, fueling and resting our body, being aware of how we feel and what is happening around us, connecting with others and asking for help when needed
FACT: In addition to biological and environmental factors, mental health is influenced by health inequalities that can be attributed to systemic racism, social determinants of health, and exposure to trauma. YMCAs and community organizations can support mental health by removing barriers that prevent marginalized communities from accessing the support they need.
FACT: Mental health and physical health are interconnected, and both can impact your overall well-being. For example, research shows that exercise can relieve depression over the long term.
FACT: Positive mental health can be supported in community settings, like the Y, in addition to traditional clinical settings. The Y supports the mental health of individuals and communities, helping people reach their full potential.
FACT: We can all support the mental health of our community by bringing empathy, compassion, and kindness into our interactions with others. Something as simple as intentionally asking “how are you?” and encouraging honest responses can give us the opportunity to normalize mental health and help others when they need it.
“As a leading change agent in our community, we recognize that the mental health of our community is just as important as the physical health, and our leadership structure certainly reflects that,” said Kristin Irwin, CEO of the YMCA.
“We have a strong team of mental health experts on staff and on our board,” said Margot Lechlak, mental health coordinator for the Monroe County Middle School District and board member. administration of the YMCA. “Supporting mental health starts at a young age. Our response to stress at a young age indicates how it will be handled as we age.
Lechlak recommends that parents and caregivers model their response to big emotions using the 3 Rs:
- Regulate: Encourage your child to calm down
- Connecting: labeling and verbalizing the emotion
- Reason: Guide your child in problem solving
Amy Zarend, Director of Great Start Collaborative and Vice Chair of the YMCA Board of Directors, suggests several self-care strategies to ensure positive mental health, including one-on-one counseling.
“I appreciate the opportunity to debrief with an unbiased person regarding the challenges that are on my mind,” Zarend said. “I also like to use an app throughout the day to help with meditations, breathing exercises, and curated background music.”
The Monroe Family YMCA offers a variety of resources for YMCA staff and community. For more information, contact Holland at (734) 241-2606, ext. 221.
People struggling with mental health issues can consult the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for a list of resources. For immediate 24-hour help, call (800) 273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.