Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns.

This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result. The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can support the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. That’s why this Mental Health Month Mental Health America of Putnam County is highlighting #Tools2Thrive – what individuals can do throughout their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency, and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, many people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves struggling for the first time. During the month of May, we are  focusing on different topics that can help process the events of the past year and the feelings that surround them, while also building up skills and supports that extend beyond COVID-19.

We know that the past year forced many to accept tough situations that they had little to no control over. If you found that it impacted your mental health, you aren’t alone. In fact, of the almost half a million individuals that took the anxiety screening at MHAscreening.org, 79% showed symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety. However, there are practical tools that can help improve your mental health. We are focused on managing anger and frustration, recognizing when trauma may be affecting your mental health, challenging negative thinking patterns, and making time to take care of yourself.

It’s important to remember that working on your mental health and finding tools that help you thrive takes time.Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.

A great starting point for anyone who is ready to start prioritizing their mental health is to take a mental health screening at MHAscreening.org. It’s a quick, free, and confidential way for someone to assess their mental health and begin finding hope and healing.

Ultimately, during this month of May, Mental Health America of Putnam County wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. By developing your own #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find balance between life’s ups and downs and continue to cope with the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

#Tools2Thrive 2021

Mental Health America of Putnam County (MHAoPC) is proud continuing to share and explore topics that can help you build your own set of #Tools2Thrive 2021. This year, we include the following new topics: accepting reality; adapting after trauma and stress; dealing with anger and frustration; getting out of thinking traps; processing big changes and taking time for yourself – all as ways to boost the mental health and general wellness of you and your loved ones. We’re so happy to be able to share these!

Accepting Reality

Sometimes in life we end up in situations that we just can’t change. Radical acceptance is all about fully accepting your reality in situations that are beyond your control. This doesn’t mean you approve of the situation, are giving up, or that it isn’t painful. You are still allowed to (and should!) feel however you feel, but by accepting that it is what it is, you give the problem less power over you and you can begin to move forward. Checkout Accepting Reality for more information, fact sheet and worksheet.

Adapting after trauma and stress

We all face trauma, adversity, and other stresses throughout our lives. When people think of
trauma, they often think of things like abuse, terrorism, or catastrophic events (big ‘T’ trauma). Trauma can also be caused by events that may be less obvious but can still overwhelm your capacity to cope, like frequent arguing at home or losing your job (little ‘t’ trauma). Trauma of any kind can be hard on your mental health but working on becoming more resilient can help you feel more at ease. Checkout Adapting after Trauma and Stress for more information, fact sheet and worksheet.

Dealing with anger and frustration

In challenging times, you may nd that you have little patience with other people or get upset over minor things. Anger and frustration are complicated emotions that often stem from other feelings, like disappointment, fear, and stress. Taking some extra steps to decrease your overall tension can prevent your feelings (and the reactions that they cause) from spiraling out of control. Checkout Dealing with Anger and Frustration for more information, fact sheet and worksheet.

Getting out of thinking traps

It’s easy to fall into negative thinking patterns and spend time bullying yourself, dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future. It’s part of how we’re wired – the human brain reacts more intensely to negative events than to positive ones and is more likely to remember insults than praise. During tough times, negative thoughts are especially likely to spiral out of control. When these thoughts make something out to be worse in your head than it is in reality, they are called cognitive distortions. Checkout Getting out of Thinking Traps for more information, fact sheet and worksheet.

Processing big changes

Change is a guaranteed part of life. It’s something everyone experiences at one point or another — good or bad. Sometimes that change happens in big ways when we aren’t expecting it or aren’t prepared for it. These types of situations can make navigating your path forward really dicult. By providing yourself with tools for processing change, you can adapt more easily. Checkout Processing Big Changes for more information, fact sheet and worksheet.

Taking time for yourself

There are always a handful of roles that each of us are juggling. If you are a parent, a student, an employee, a caretaker, someone struggling with a mental health concern, or are just feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of day-to-day life, the idea of taking time for yourself may seem unimaginable. Sometimes it can be dicult to even take basic care of ourselves – but there are small things that can be done to make self-care and taking time for ourselves a little bit easier. Checkout Taking Time for Yourself for more information, fact sheet and worksheet.

Crisis Resources:

“Be Well Crisis Helpline” – Dial 211, enter your ZIP code, press 3.

Trained counselors 24/7 regarding stress, anxiety, loneliness or mental health strains due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Service is free and confidential.

The National Suicide Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255.

It is staffed around the clock, is free, and offers confidential support to people in distress and their families and loved ones. It also provides prevention and crisis resources.

They have additional specific resources for LGBTQ people, youth, Native Americans, veterans, people with disabilities, and disaster survivors. They also offer help in Spanish.

For more information on this valuable service, click here.

Crisis Text Line: Text “MHA” to 741741.

They offer free 24/7 crisis support in the US. When you text, you will be connected to a live trained counselor.

For more information on the crisis text line, click here.