MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH 2021
The theme for May is Mental Health Month 2021 in Richland County is one simple word “RESILIENCE”.
In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic Richland County has demonstrated the four principals of Resilience: Perseverance, Adaptability, Increasing Knowledge, and the Strength to move forward. The behavioral health system “Persevered” despite restrictions created through this worldwide pandemic our publicly funded agencies provided services to over 8000 Richland County youth and adults for treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders. The system “Adapted” and agencies quickly developed new ways to deliver essential services to people in need, through telephone services, video chats and sanitized face-to-face meetings. We “Increased Knowledge” during this time of transition through electronic communication and greater reliance on media.
We enhanced the “Know It Before You Need It” initiative and increased community knowledge of available services before people need them. Now we are building a new initiative referred to as “The Good Neighbor” movement, encouraging the community to begin “safely” expanding their social circles and sense of community as we emerge from the challenging time.
And lastly, we are “Moving Forward” as we begin to deal with the impact of the pandemic, we find our services in greater demand. Access to care is the key. To that end we will be piloting, up to, two Behavioral Health Urgent Cares. These will allow access to initial assessments and brief, solution-focused counseling six days a week and up to four evenings per week on a walk-in basis. We know that when someone decides they need help it is essential that they can access care quickly and conveniently. We are still in the development stages but hope to have the doors open on these Behavioral Health Urgent Cares on August 2, 2021.
As a community we encourage Richland County residents, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses, and schools to recommit to our community. This can be done by increasing awareness and understanding of mental health, by communicating the steps our citizens can take to protect their mental health and by filling the need for appropriate and accessible services for all people with mental illnesses.
Through out the month there will be celebrations, events, and opportunities to increase your Mental Health knowledge and to learn more about services and service providers available in Richland County, Ohio.
Follow us on Facebook & Instagram to be part of the RESILIENCE Conversation. #MENTALHEALTHAWARENESSMONTH2021
A LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – Resilience is Personal But Creates a Collective Strength When We All Choose to Overcome
Resilience is an empowerment discovered by overcoming a trauma. 2020 and the first half of 2021 have been one long trauma. However, I believe that most of us who have survived to tell the tale care embrace a new level of strength as we look to the future. Here are a few things that I have done over the past year to embrace resilience.
I persevered regardless of the obstacles that appeared before me by focusing on the goal at hand. No matter how big or how small the accomplishment I took time to acknowledge any an all successes. This may sound a little conceded, but we tend to be our worst critics as well as own biggest fans. I chose to be the latter. I have a friend who climbs mountains and he told me that although the ascent is grueling, the most rewarding moment is when he can look down from the peak and truly see what he has accomplished, this is where he finds the strength to make the next climb. So regardless of how small or large your mountain is, acknowledge your accomplishment of climbing it so you will be strong enough for that next, inevitable mountain.
I worked to remain adaptable. As we charted new waters, we need to be able to step out of our comfort zone and do things a little different. I frequently teach that a stress management technique is to establish routines and stick to them during times of high stress. However, routines became a bit more difficult when the environment changed every other day, so I learned to find comfort in change and really enjoy those moments when I could get back to some sense of a normal routine. The Serenity Prayer states, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” There was a whole lot of “cannot change” that occurred this year, so I chose to focus and adapt where I had some level of control.
I took this time to increase my knowledge and skills. Every summer I have looked forward to activities with my daughter. COVID restrictions put some significant limitations on this activity. Rather than throwing in the towel and canceling summer, we chose to look for new activities. We tried fishing, hiking, and biking. Somethings we enjoyed more than others, but we learned something new with each activity. We have used this new knowledge to establish plans for this summer to try and bike a new trail each week.
I kept moving forward. Despite the need to make constant changes and address new critical issues, I never stopped focusing on the future. I absolutely refused to use the term “New Normal.” To me this phrase means that we are settling, and I do not like to settle. I know that we will get back to the “normal” that we love, we may have some new pieces that we developed during this traumatic time that we are going to continue, but we are not going to settle. It has been almost therapeutic to take time during this past year to develop new programs for the community, plan changes at home that we have been wanting to make and personally to grab a couple of books that I have been wanting to read. We have a light at the end of the tunnel and we need to keep moving towards it.
In summary, to me resilience is made up of perseverance, adaptability, the discovery of new knowledge and remining future focused. By developing resilience, we all become stronger and better able to weather trauma in the future.
Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board