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Toolkit for Tackling Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and people around the country are raising awareness for mental health: fighting stigma, providing support, educating others, and advocating for equal care.

We all have mental health – a state of well-being in which we realize our own potential, can cope with stressors, and are able to make a contribution to our community. Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition, 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. However, everyone is impacted by mental illness through friends and family.

Sometimes our positive mental health gets interrupted and we look for more support to increase our potential. Being open and honest about mental health ensures that people in need receive the care and support they deserve.

The Campaign to Change Direction identifies these five signs that someone might be in emotional pain and needs support:

  • Personality change
  • Agitated
  • Withdrawal
  • Poor self-care
  • Hopelessness

And what you can do to help:

  • Connect and reach out
  • Show compassion and caring
  • Inspire hope and connect to resources

Just as it requires effort to build and maintain physical health, it’s the same with mental health. We have to continually work on improving our emotional well-being.

Here are ways to increase resiliency and elevate your mood:

  • Stay active, get outside, and increase social connections
  • Practice gratitude and forgiveness
  • Self-care: eat, sleep, drink water
  • Be mindful and breathe deep
  • Try something new or do something you know makes you feel better
  • Show love and spend time with others in a meaningful way: find your purpose

Besides being part of TR, here are some other resources that help support positive mental health:

  • Team RWB (www.teamrwb.org) enriches the lives of veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
  • Home Base Program (www.homebase.org) provides clinical care, fitness and mind-body wellness programs for post-9/11 service members, veterans, and families.
  • Give an Hour (www.giveanhour.org) offers confidential, no-cost mental health services to active duty, reservists, veterans, and their loved ones.
  • Courage Beyond (www.couragebeyond.org) provides confidential, no-cost programs and services to warriors and their loved ones facing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other invisible wounds of military service.
  • Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001 and their families.They provide peer mentoring and support, interactive outdoor and adaptive rehabilitative retreats, mental health groups, case-management, and job training.
  • Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 OR text 838255
Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence currently serves as the Wellness Manager in Region I. Jennifer has a Master's Degree in social work and serves as a Child and Family Clinician on the Community Violence Response Team for the Boston Medical Center.