Monroe YMCA recognizes Mental Health Month – Monroe Evening News

Wealthlandnews
Wealthlandnews May 14, 2022
Updated 2022/05/14 at 8:36 PM

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the Monroe Family YMCA is encouraging 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 it is an important component of physical health, social-emotional well-being and a core component of identity,” the Y said.
“We all have a role in supporting each other’s mental health – at the Y and in our community,” Gabby Holland, mental health services director, said. “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 encourages sharing these facts with friends and family:
FACT: We all have mental health, not just those who live with a mental illness. Everyone faces challenges in their life that can impact our mental health.
FACT: There are many things we can do each day to positively impact our mental health. A few examples include: moving, fueling and resting our bodies, being mindful of how we’re feeling and what’s going on 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 inequities that can be attributed to systemic racism, the social determinants of health and exposure to trauma. YMCAs and community organizations can support mental health by addressing barriers that prevent marginalized communities from having access to 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 alleviate long-term depression.
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 all can support the mental health of our community through bringing empathy, compassion and kindness to our interactions with others. Something as simple as intentionally asking “how are you?” and encouraging honest answers can provide us an opportunity to normalize mental health and help others when they need it.
“As a leading change agent in our community, we recognize the mental health of our community is equally important as physical health, and our leadership structure certainly reflects this,” Kristin Irwin, YMCA CEO said.
“We have a strong team of mental health experts on staff and on our board of directors,” Margot Lechlak, mental health coordinator for the Monroe County Intermediate School District and a YMCA board member, said. “Supporting mental health starts at a young age. Our response to stress at a young age indicates how it will be handled as we grow older.”
Lechlak recommends parents and caregivers model their response to big emotions using the 3 Rs:
Amy Zarend, Great Start Collaborative director and YMCA board vice president, suggests several self-care strategies to ensure positive mental health, including individual counseling.
“I appreciate the opportunity to debrief with an unbiased person regarding the challenges that weigh on my mind,” Zarend said. “I also like to use an app throughout the day to assist with meditations, breathing exercises and curated mood music.”
The Monroe Family YMCA provides a variety of resources to YMCA staff and community. For more information, contact Holland at (734) 241-2606, ext. 221.
People struggling with mental health can visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for a list of resources. For immediate help 24-hours a day, call (800) 273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.

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