This week is mental health awareness week! The Oxford Dictionary defines mental health as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” According to the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI) 1 in 5 adults suffer from a mental illness in the United States. As a therapist, I am biased to the importance of addressing one’s mental health but the statistic speaks for itself. Societally, we are moving at a snail’s pace (with more recent speed) with mental health awareness. Here are some ways you can build awareness this week:
Talk about your own experiences: Talking openly about your own battles with mental health and asking after and genuinely listening to your family and friends’ responses can, in turn, encourage them to speak out about their symptoms and emotions and possibly seek help. Context is important in respecting the relationships you have, preface that you have something to share and be mindful of boundaries with details.
Educate yourself on warning signs and symptoms: Having an understanding of what may be happening, and why it may be happening can be an important tool in raising awareness and support. Society tends to belittle those who have problems others see as being “all in their head,” or that they should “snap out of it”.
Practice kindness and compassion: For too long, words like ‘crazy, wacko or looney” have been used to describe people with a serious mental illness. More than anything, those struggling with their mental health need compassion and kindness, not ridicule. Be kind, you never know what someone is going through. Be a role model in your own mental health and encourage others: Take care of your mental health holistically. Consider the pillars of self care: mental, emotional, physical, environmental, spiritual, recreational and social. Be intentional with your pillars and encourage others to join you!
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We practice good mental health by contributing to our community. This month Looking Glass Counseling supports the work of La Alianza Hispana a community based organization providing culturally and linguistically appropriate health and education programs to the Latino Community of Greater Boston.
National Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off on September 15th and continues through October 15th. We hope that our charitable donation helps La Alianza Hispana realize their goals as we celebrating their heritage.
Vera Bednar, LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and certified in dialectical behavioral therapy (C-DBT). A Lesley University graduate, Vera earned a bachelor's in counseling and art therapy and a master's in clinical mental health counseling with a specialization in trauma.
Prior to joining Looking Glass Counseling, Vera worked in a wide variety of clinical settings including inpatient, residential, intensive outpatient and an assisted living center with an art therapy focus. She also worked in partial hospitalization programs specializing in trauma, LGBTQIA+ individuals and young adult transitions as well as substance use.