African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis county.
Episode 13: Thriving Through the Holidays During this COVID Pandemic
Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Theresa Libios, a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate, who provides person-centered Christian counseling at the Timothy Center.
Importance of Mental Health after a Difficult Year
Theresa Libios acknowledged the numerous hardships many individuals have had to deal with this year and highlighted several ways to bring attention to our mental health and overall well-being during these unprecedented times. She recommends identifying known triggers that arise and where they stem from, and writing them down or talking about them with someone. Libios also suggests removing ourselves from stressful situations and participating in an activity that is enjoyable such as, taking a walk or practicing self-care. While many people report feeling sad and anxious at times, Libios notes the importance of setting boundaries for oneself in unhealthy situations to avoid “drowning in your emotions.”
Dealing with Quarantine Fatigue during the Holidays
Libios shares that cases for COVID-19 are estimated to increase in the upcoming months and it is recommended that individuals refrain from gathering in large groups. This has left many individuals feeling especially unmotivated and discouraged for this upcoming holiday season. However, Shannon Jones stressed that despite the given circumstances, it is important to maintain a connection with other people in a safe manner. He added, overtime, a loss of this connectivity with others can lead to a “diminish in our own self-awareness and self-health.”
Ms. Libios recommends several ways to interact with loved ones virtually during the holidays that are both “practical and safe,” such as Zoom, Facebook Live, and Marco Polo. To help maintain a connection with one another, Jacki Hecht suggests that we should see this holiday season as an “opportunity to reach out to people that we wouldn’t normally reach out to” and encourage the start of new traditions. Furthermore, Shannon Jones stated, "We can ensure an enjoyable holiday season by doing our part to stay safe despite the situation” and remain mindful of the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. Making connections with those who are more vulnerable and isolated can lift the spirits of both parties, and remind us of the small things for which we can be grateful. Read the article "Who’s at Highest Risk for Loneliness and What Can be Done? Check Your Assumptions…"
Mental Health Concerns and Knowing when to Seek Professional Help
As this pandemic progresses, there are several mental health concerns that may arise and it is crucial to recognize when to seek professional help. Whether it is a diminished sense of belonging, questioning self-worth, or suicidal thoughts, there is help for everyone and it is recommended to seek a higher level of care. Jacki Hecht acknowledged, “It is a real sign of strength when you reach out and get help.” She believes it is admirable for taking a step to better take care of yourself or someone you know. If you or anyone you know is currently experiencing any of these thoughts or emotions, please call the Austin/Travis County Crisis Hotline at 512-472-HELP.
Below you will find a list of additioinal community and COVID-19 resources:
- Community Resources:
- Austin/Travis County Crisis Hotline: 512-472-HELP
- YMCA of Austin: Resource hub for home exercise options, educational resources, and guides.
- Parenting for Lifelong Health: COVID-19 24/7 Parenting
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 24/7 Hotline, and Chat
- Love Is Respect Hotline: 24/7 Hotline, Text, and Chat - Resource for youth to prevent and end dating abuse
- Texas Health & Human Services: List of crisis hotline number by Texas counties
- Disaster Distress Hotline: 24/7 Hotline and Text
- National Crisis Text Line
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 27/7 Hotline and Chat
- Veterans Crisis Line: 24/7 Hotline, Text, and Chat
- COVID-19 Resources:
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