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Meaningful Reflections: Mental Health in a Changing World

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, making it a great time to assess our mental health. The world we live in changes constantly and can become overwhelming.

Published May 7th, 2024

By Kim Crawford Meeks
Spiritual Health & Counseling Manager

The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are all aspects of our humanity and whole being. Focusing on the physical is certainly a priority, but all components that create who we are and how we function are vital to our well-being.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, making it a great time to assess our mental health. The world we live in changes constantly and can become overwhelming.

Our society seems more comfortable talking about mental health now than in previous years, but it can be difficult to determine where to start. Mental Health America, the nation's leading community-based organization dedicated to addressing mental health as a critical part of wellness, highlights where to start and what actions we can take.

Mental Health America offers tools and resources that can help you:

  • Learn how modern life affects mental health, with new resources to navigate our changing world.
  • Act by building your coping toolbox, so you can manage stress, difficult emotions, and challenging situations.
  • Advocate to improve mental health for yourself, your friends and family, and your community.

Visit Mental Health America to learn more.

The Spiritual Health and Counseling Department also will provide resources from Mental Health America through starter toolkits, which we will place in break rooms throughout the USA Health system. These toolkits will include ideas on building your own personal coping toolkit and many mental-health resources.

The department has multiple interactive seminars scheduled at USA Health University Hospital, Children’s & Women’s Hospital, Providence Hospital, Mitchell Cancer Institute, and the Strada Patient Care Center. Topics include:

  • Reach: Reaching Out to Offer Hope and Receive Hope
    • Normalizing emotions, assessing for distress, what to say and what not to say to someone who is hurting, and building your own coping toolkit to offer hope and receive hope.
  • My Tree Life Story: PTSD/Trauma, Coping
    • Together we will work through traumatic experiences and how to process through them, cope, and how to heal and find help.
  • Emotional Boundaries
    • Self-care is vital in today’s busy world. Setting emotional boundaries is crucial to your own self-care and to your relationships with others, both personally and professionally.
  • Second Victim
    • Second victim syndrome is a condition that affects healthcare workers who experience guilt, sadness and anxiety after an adverse event. This can include an unanticipated patient death, a missed or delayed diagnosis, a complication of a procedure, or a medication error.

To sign up for any or all of the above seminars throughout the month of May, please visit HealthStream and search for "H2O."

Our theme for Spiritual Health and Counseling this year is “Reaching out with hope,” and we are forming peer support groups called H2O: Hope Helpers Openhearted. Water is a wonderful symbol for our mental health needs. If we go to the ocean and stand in it, even when it is calm, we know that it is there.

Some days we go stand in the ocean and plan to stand strong, but a wave comes from out of nowhere and knocks us down. Other days it can seem as if we are drowning. Life is much the same. We all want to stand strong and have peace and calm, yet life has many challenges along the journey.

Research suggests that spending time near water, also known as “blue space,” can improve mental health. The color blue is associated with feelings of calm and peace, and the ebb and flow of waves can soothe and relax the brain.

Water also triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's “rest and digest” response. In this state, heart rate and blood pressure lower, digestion is stimulated, and the body is able to relax. To learn more about the health benefits of being near water read The Surprising Benefits of Blue Spaces.

Along with participating in our wellness seminars and receiving resources, you also may take a confidential mental health assessment, which is another helpful tool. 

We will have more information about the H2O Hope Helpers Openhearted peer groups soon. If you need support, please reach out to the Spiritual Health and Counseling Department to speak to our chaplains and/or employee assistance counselor.

Learn more about Spiritual Health and Counseling at USA Health. Patients, family members, and USA Health associates are encouraged to call the Meaningful Reflections Line at 251-445-9016 for a daily recorded word of encouragement.  

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