Election Connection – 21 Weeks – Anti-Racist Resources

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With the surge of justice Twitter, Black Lives Matter, Defund the Police, Vote, we are being bombarded with some messages that we may not have been exposed to before.

For those of us who are white, it is time to stop talking and listen to the voices of the black experience. What follows is several resources that I have found in the last week simply by listening to those voices.

Later this week, I will share some people to follow on social media (primarily Twitter). Please contact me through comments or email with any suggestions of black voices that you want amplified.

NAACP

ACLU

Racial Inequality and Injustice – A Panel facilitated by Misha Collins through GISH (his charity scavenger hunt)

NAMI’s Statement on Recent Racist Incidents and Mental Health Resources for African Americans (this link is a repost from yesterday)

The Anti-Racist Starter Kit by Brea Baker

5 Ways to Better Support the Movement

10 Documentaries to Watch About Race Instead of Asking a Person of Colour to Explain Things For You

Baratunde’s World-Saving Books

Unlearning and Relearning Through Literature (Victoria Alexander’s Twitter Link)

Anti-Racist Resource Guide created by Victoria Alexander, MEd

Anti-Racism Resources for White People

Mental Health Monday – Mental Health Awareness Month

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Each Monday from now until the second week in June will be the Mental Health Monday series with suggestions, resources, and coping tools. I would love for you to share what works for you in the comments, and I can gather them together for a future post for others.
It is more important than ever to be aware of our mental health, what triggers we face, and how to cope and overcome some of the difficulties.

Awareness is especially relevant in today’s world while we struggle through this unprecedented global pandemic with new surprises popping up every day in all aspects of our lives.

Today, instead of working on a more detailed first post, I was taking care of my own mental health, enjoying Star Wars with my family, eating comfort food (Kraft Macaroni & Cheese), praying the rosary, seeing my son for the first time in a long time, and most importantly, ignoring Twitter. Sometimes you just need to know when to stop and step away, and for me, that was today.

I have three resources to offer you today:

NAMI – National Association of Mental Illness

My own COVID-19 Mental Health and Crisis Information During the Pandemic Post
Wil Wheaton – he is very open about his depression and anxiety and many of his personal essays are helpful, even if only for knowing that you are not alone.

Inspire. April.

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Some things have changed since March’s Inspire post. A lot of things across this country and across the world. We can still move forward while in isolation though. I’ve seen online that some people are using this time to learn a new skill, a new language, write the Great American Novel, learn to cook. And some of us are simply trying to get through another day while trying not to suffocate in the constant presence of our families. I am somewhere in the middle. I am not taking up any new skills, but I am thinking about writing more. I’ve been cooking more in the last two weeks than in the last two years, which is a welcome change to both my family and myself. I will share some of our recipes as the days go on, just as I would in a regular year. I usually spend my mornings attending daily mass (on Facebook Live) and then watching and screenshotting Governor Cuomo’s daily press briefing. It makes me feel as if I’m doing something to help my community, and I have received positive feedback from it.

On the other hand, I’ve also found myself full of anxiety, with my brain going into overdrive, and not being able to shut down for sleep. Even in the dark, I’m wearing an eye mask. I think the light pressure on my head helps calm me down enough to fall asleep. Our family has been very lucky in our circumstances so far, and I will probably write and share about that another time. Easter and Passover are around the corner, and we are preparing for both. My next shopping trip will be Thursday to gather all the goodies for Easter dinner and Easter baskets. I am hoping to see my son, but time will tell. (He is a first responder and so he is working every day. I don’t know his holiday schedule yet.) I started a new book called The Boston Massacre. You know, some light reading.

Stay Home. Save Lives.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.

Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

– Helen Keller

Graphic provided by NAMI on Instagram. (c)2020

Mental Health Resources

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Attitudes in Reverse FB

NAMI

NAMI Instagram

The Trevor Project

Project UR OK

Better U Better Us

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Confidential crisis hotline available 24/7

IMAlive An online crisis network with trained volunteers available to chat 24/7.

Drug Rehab [dot] com by Advanced Recovery Systems

My crisis intervention page will be updated on Saturday.

Mental Health Monday begins for the rest of the month on Monday, September 16th.

Please share your own resources in the comments and offer feedback on any of the above that you have familiarity with.

World Suicide Prevention Day

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Today is the day on the calendar that we focus on bringing awareness to suicide prevention, but for those of us who are stuck in suicidal thoughts, suicide prevention is every day.

Throughout the month, I will be sharing links and resources for suicide prevention. Check on your friends. Add the Suicide Prevention Hotline to your phone (1-800-273-8255). Share it on your social media. Sometimes all someone needs is that one message that reminds them that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary situation.

In the meantime, check out NAMI’s Instagram and search my Mental Health Monday tags for previous posts.

Click the picture to be taken to NAMI’s website and Suicide Prevention Month page. (c)2019

Mental Health Monday – Reflection

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​I had originally wanted to write and post this today in the morning, but when I got out what I thought I wanted to reflect on, it didn’t feel right. It said all the right words, but the tone was off, and the objective was off from what I intended in the thought process. As it turned out, I had the opportunity this morning to attend my parish’s semi-annual Anointing Mass, which administers the sacrament of the sick, and for healing. It’s a really wonderful experience. It’s similar to a regular mass with the inclusion of the anointing with oil. The readings are related to sickness and health, and the homily is always inspirational. The range of people attending is literally the range of people who attend the church. Residents of nursing homes come by bus. Some people are in wheelchairs, some use walkers, some have heart conditions, joint problems, MS, migraines, all sorts of ailments including mental illnesses and health issues.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I learned that last year at my Diocese’s annual Spring Enrichment program. One of the attending vendors was the Diocese’s Consultation Center. They gave me this bracelet, 

and provided resources. Obviously anything with the Diocese will fall under Catholic doctrine, but the idea that the official church is to welcome and help those of their people struggling with these issues is a big step in the right direction.
During my own parish’s Prayer of the Faithful, they have included mental health ailments along with the other sick mentioned for as long as I’ve personally been attending masses with my priest.

Last week my Diocese held the Spring Enrichment. It was a much smaller event than in previous years, so I was surprised to see several vendor tables. They are mostly publishers related to Catholic School education, books written by the keynote speaker, pastoral care and other educational opportunities, and this year, it was very unexpected to see a table manned by the NYS group of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They had pamphlets and resources for self-hairm and suicide prevention and many of the things their organization covers. The significance of having them there, in their own right, promoting their organization, appearing to me without any restrictions as far as Catholic doctrine; no limitations on what they were offering.

I was very happy to see this as historically many religious groups have upheld a stigma against mental illness and the taking of medication to help those illnesses and issues. I am so glad to see more open acceptance of mental health as a medical issue, which it’s always been despite being hidden for so long. It’s so important that we normalize and eliminate the stigma of mental illness and it is long past time.
It was like a light being turned on in the dark.

Mental Health Monday – May 6th

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we’re kicking off Mental Health Monday with a few reminders and links:

Mental health affects EVERYONE. Mental Health is often confused with Mental Illness, and both are afflicted with social stigmas where we don’t acknowledge our issues, we don’t speak about them, and we ignore our friends and family who have them, regardless of the degree.

As a whole, we need to be more open and in that way, we encourage others around us that they can come to us, and they will receive support.
To start out this awareness month, check out my Mental Health Monday tag, an ongoing series of mental health stories and resources. I also have a Crisis Intervention Resource page that offers hotlines and some websites. I have already added the new Trans LifeLine to it.

Other resources to check out include:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
BetteruBetterUs on Instagram (helping people of color connect with therapists)
Project Ur Ok, on Instagram
The Carter Center: Mental Health
The Trevor Project
School of Awake (for young girls)

Five of My Personal Self-Care Practices

1. Take a Mental Health Day. This is especially helpful when you work full-time. Sometimes with all of the obligations and expectations, a day off is needed. I also allow my kids to do this if needed.

2. Tea. It is no lie that tea cures everything. And if it doesn’t cure it, it certainly helps put things in perspective. The time it takes to brew a cup of tea and drink it is often enough time to allow yourself to take a breathe, and it can be done anywhere – home, work, coffee shop on the corner.

3. Do something mundane. There are times when I get low and can’t focus even on relaxing, so I will put on a rerun of Supernatural and let that be my white noise. I’ve seen all of the episodes so I don’t need to pay strict attention to the plot, and I find comfort in the familiar voices.

4. Music. My go-to’s are the Hamilton soundtrack, Sign No More from Mumford & Sons, England Take My Bones from Frank Turner, and Adele plus the Supernatural soundtrack that I’ve put together.

5. Prayer. I know this isn’t for everyone, but if I can sit down and pray or read a spiritual book it does tend to re-center me so I can continue with my day.

Share 1 or 2 of yours in the comments!

Mental Health Monday – Resources

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Suicide Prevention HelpLine: 1-800-273-8255

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

IMAlive (an online crisis network)
The Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

TWLOHA: To Write Love on Her Arms

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1. Text to 838255. There is also a confidential chat line on the website.

There is a more comprehensive list (although not inclusive) on my Crisis Intervention Page.

Check out all of the Mental Health Monday posts by followng this tag: mental health monday

Two other things you should check out:

Questions to Ask Before Giving Up

Let’s Make a Coping Skills Toolbox

Add anything you’ve found useful in the comments so I can include it in any updates.

Mental Health Monday – Profile – Wil Wheaton

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​Wil Wheaton is an actor, best known for his roles in Stand by Me and Star Trek: The Next Generation. His motto is: Don’t be a dick, and he tries to live his life with that philosophy at the forefront. It is a simple philosophy; one I equate to the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

He and his wife live in California with their two dogs, Marlowe and Seamus, and a cat, Watson. They are both (all) very committed to animals and their welfare, and lend a lot of support, both in time and financial charity to the Pasadena Humane Society and SCPA.

He homebrews and is a huge fan of the LA Kings, through good times and bad.

Wil Wheaton is a writer and has been influential to me in seeing alternative avenues of publishing, the importance of using social media to your advantage, and inspirational to keep going forward and to never stop writing.

He also has chronic depression and generalized anxiety, something that I can understand, having similar, if not the same diagnoses. I can only imagine how much harder it is when you’re a celebrity and all eyes are on you when you’re out in public. He is one of the voices speaking out against the stigma of mental illness and supports NAMI among other groups who help.

Visit his official website: Wil Wheaton

From Slate

In Wil’s Words

Wil and his lovely wife, Anne at a LA Kings game. Copyright belongs to Anne Wheaton. (c)2019