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Op-Ed: Keeping your mental health top of mind


Mon, Apr 25th 2022 11:10 am

Catholic Charities’ mental health counselors share tips for Mental Health Awareness Month

Submitted by Catholic Charities of Buffalo

While one’s mental health is something to keep top of mind every day, there is an increased focus during Mental Health Awareness Month each May. With many still experiencing major impacts on their mental health due to the pandemic, the mental health counselors at Catholic Charities of Buffalo are sharing some tips to help ease anxiety and put you at the center of your own mental health and wellness.

“Whether dealing with the aftermath of a major life event such as the loss of a loved one or a job or experiencing an increased level of anxiety for a sustained period of time, the pandemic has taken some sort of toll on the mental health of all of us over the last two years,” said Michelle Abraham, assistant director of clinical services, Catholic Charities. “It’s important to focus on your own mental health. Taking regular time to destress or speak with a professional counselor are among some ways to help boost your mental health wellness.”

Consider incorporating some of these tips from Catholic Charities’ mental health counselors into your daily routine:

•Spending as little as 10 minutes a day in nature can improve your mood. Those benefits double if you spend that time barefoot in the grass.

•Practicing a random act of kindness regularly will give you a free serotonin boost. Try something small like holding the door for or smiling at a stranger.

•Positive self-talk is a technique where you speak out loud to yourself acting as your own best friend and biggest fan. Hearing your own voice saying kind words about yourself makes them stick better than just thinking them.

•Just like cars need routine oil changes to run well, humans need routine time away from work and other stressful activities to recharge and run well. Be sure to make use of vacation or personal time.

•Consider keeping a gratitude jar. As often as possible, write down positive events that occur in your life. They can be small like winning a free cup of coffee or big like a new relationship. See how full the jar gets and how long it takes. Once full, read those things you wrote down.

•Know your vulnerability factors. Some people are more susceptible to negative moods if they don’t get enough sleep, food, or don’t feel well. While good sleeping, eating habits and health are all important, knowing which one impacts you the most might help you prioritize.

In need of more support? Catholic Charities’ team of professional and highly trained counseling experts are available to assist families, children, adults and seniors with day-to-day troubles and serious concerns throughout Western New York. For more information on these or any of Catholic Charities’ programs, visit ccwny.org.

Catholic Charities has helped individuals and families in need since its founding in 1923. That need is varied and widespread – from emergency assistance to mental health counseling and treatment, and from specialized services for older adults to help with job training and education. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assesses clients for other needs to ensure long-term success. An excellent steward of the contributions it receives, Catholic Charities earns high ratings from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management and is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity. Catholic Charities also receives highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service. For more information, visit ccwny.org.

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