Path to Wellness
A path to wellness offers information for people to help themselves or others who are experiencing mental health, suicide, or substance use concerns.
Mental Health Monday Path to Wellness Message
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health concern. Mental health does not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the emotional, mental, or behavioral health regardless of their background. However, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment and support much more difficult. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed each July to bring mindfulness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental health. Learn about the perspectives of mental health across backgrounds and communities:
- Cultural and Clinical Factors Affecting Health of BIPOC, Queer and Trans, and Communities with Disabilities
- Healing History: Where History Meets Behavioral Health Equity for African Americans
- Structural Racism and Black Mental Health
- Asian American/Pacific Islander Communities And Mental Health
- Infographic: BIPOC And LGBTQ+ Mental Health
- LGBTQ+ Communities and Mental Health
- The 2021 BIPOC Mental Health Month Toolkit
- Talking About Mental Health in Diverse Communities Twitter Chat
- Understanding the Role of Resilience in Gender and Sexual Minority Communities
- Designing and Assessing Multilevel Interventions to Improve Minority Mental Health and Reduce Health Disparities
- Health Equity Change Makers Toolkit
- The Opioid Crisis and Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations
- Using Photovoice to Engage Minority Consumers in the Implementation of Health Interventions
- Mental Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity of Adults
- Racial-Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health Care
- Community Conversations About Mental Health: Discussion Guide
- Double Jeopardy: COVID-19 and Behavioral Health Disparities for Black and Latino Communities in the U.S.
- Strategies for Outreaching and Engaging Communities of Color: A Pathway to Reducing Disparities
- Healthy People 2020 Health Disparities Data Widget
- Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals
When we work together we are capable of creating powerful change.
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National Simplicity Day: Food, shelter and water are the three basic necessities of life, but as humans, do we need more in our fast, ever-increasingly busy lifestyles? As the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line embraces national simplicity day, we are encouraging people to consider stepping back and looking at ways to minimize things in life that assist them in finding their mental wellness. Today is an opportunity to declutter and eliminate the unnecessary burdens that weigh a person down. National simplicity day gives a person a chance to consider clearing their vision by reconnecting with the basics, and as a result, recognizing the potential one has.
“In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty, nor weakness.” – Henry David Thoreau
How to consider simplifying: Living simply doesn’t mean living without, it means living with only what a person needs. So, look around throughout the day and consider the excesses. The easiest way to begin is to seek a leisurely pace that doesn’t include the accumulation of things that are not needed for survival. Look to nature or companionship, ponder on passages that inspire you from a book, or inspiration that has been found from the wisdom of a child or elder. These simple things collect together to fulfill a persons greatest needs. Henry David Thoreau has said that when our lives are simpler, our stress decreases, we no longer feel the pressure to acquire more things, and we have time to pursue adventures and spend time with people we enjoy.
“The simplest things are often the truest.” – Richard Bach
Consider doing, or stop doing, things to assist simplifying a day. Tips to simplifying life:
- Identify what’s important to you. This list will include things, goals, and activities. While we don’t all have the ultimate goal of reaching Mars, don’t dismiss the small achievements. Those don’t necessarily equate to clutter. They’re stepping stones. However, if they aren’t a part of the bigger picture, consider slashing them.
- When it comes to things, you have to admit, we hold on to some things for sentimental reasons. On the other hand, we buy too much junk for all the wrong reasons. Identify the ones that are the most important and get rid of the rest. The next time something breaks ask whether it can be repaired instead of replacing it.
- Put a ban on impulse buying. Make a list before any shopping trip. If it’s not on the list, it can’t be bought (unless it’s toilet paper, that’s the one exception). Otherwise, you will get by until the next trip. You will also see an improvement in your bank account.
- When it comes to activities, consider the ones that are time wasters and have no value. Again, which ones are important to you? Do they bring you joy? Do they improve you or the world around you? If the answer is no to any of these questions, why is this activity still in your life?
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month: Not all wounds are visible. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common, undertreated psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a pandemic, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, a natural disaster, a physical or sexual assault, or who have been threatened with death, violence, or serious injury. PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans. An estimated 7.8% of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. PTSD affects approximately 3.5% of U.S. adults every year, and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. PTSD occurs:
- in all people;
- in any gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, or culture;
- at any age;
- and anywhere in our community.
People who experience PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear or anger; and they may feel detached or estranged from other people. It is common for a person who experiences PTSD to avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch. A diagnosis of PTSD requires exposure to an upsetting traumatic event. However, the exposure could be indirect rather than first hand. For example, PTSD could occur in an individual learning about the violent death of a close family or friend. It can also occur as a result of repeated exposure to horrible details of trauma such as police officers exposed to details of child abuse cases.
- Women (10.4%) are twice as likely as men (5%) to develop PTSD.
- Three ethnic groups – U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians – are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites.
- More than 60% of youth ages 0 – 17 have experienced or witnessed at least one traumatic event in the last year.
Even though treatments for PTSD work, most people who experience PTSD do not get the help they need. Get started with a journey to recovery by taking a free, quick and confidential screen for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and/or alcohol or substance use concerns by visiting the NM 5-Actions Program™ assessment tools then begin your self guided journey into understanding your mental health concerns.
Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness: Too often we overlook the connection between physical and mental health. This week we encourage you to think about ways to engage in wellness activities that will support you in maintaining your health and wellbeing that can lead to pathways that improve your physical fitness, relieve stress, reduce depression, and enhance your quality of life. Consider trying yoga, meditation, and mindfulness in your path to wellness.
- Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, calms and centers the nervous system, which has been know to improve mental health.
- Meditation is the practice of thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time. While there are many forms of meditation, the ultimate goal is a feeling of relaxation and inner peace, which can improve mental health.
- Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body based approach that helps people to manage their thoughts, feelings, and can improve one’s mental health.
When you incorporate physical and mental wellness activities such as these into your routine, you may find positive benefits result to your overall health and wellbeing.
Men’s Health Month: When we talk about the health of an individual, we aren’t just talking about the absence of illness, we are talking about a state of physical, mental, behavioral, and social well-being. Mental and behavioral health is a vital component of overall wellness, but is often overlooked as a negligible determinant of our overall health. More than 42 million Americans experience mental health concerns every year. This week we are exploring the critical mental health needs of men.
- Although mental and behavioral health affects all genders, it is oftentimes overlooked in men, considered a weakness to talk about, and frequently not taken seriously when concerns are expressed. Because of this, many men may find it difficult to speak up about mental health concerns and struggles they experience, and can be more reluctant to seek support to help manage symptoms. As a result, men are less likely to see their doctor about a health issue than women. This #MensHealthMonth, let’s remind men that their doctor is their partner in health!
- Nearly 1 in 10 men experience depression and anxiety: According to a poll of 21,000 American men by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), nearly one in ten men reported experiencing some form of depression or anxiety, but less than half sought treatment.
- Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women: Men experience a higher rate suicide than women. Depression, when left untreated, can in some cases reach a crisis point where they begin considering suicide. With so few men reaching out for help or support, and instead suffering in silence, this may be one reason why men face a higher suicide rate.
- About 6 of every 10 men experience at least one trauma in their lives: Men are more likely to experience trauma related to accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury. PTSD can develop weeks, months, and sometimes even years after an experienced trauma, and can cause a person to relive the traumatic event, avoid places or situations that serve as a reminder of it, feeling on alert or keyed up for danger, experience nightmares or flashbacks, and a number of other troubling symptoms that can interfere with their everyday life.
- Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women: Not only do men binge drink more often than women, men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations. Men are also more likely to have used alcohol before dying by suicide.
- Forty-nine percent of men feel more depressed than they admit to the people in their life: A Today Show commissioned survey of more than 1,000 men revealed the truth that many assume. Men are much less likely to voice struggles with mental illness, and even thoughts of suicide.
- Learn more at the National Institute of Mental Health
Making the decision to start a conversation with a friend, loved one, or crisis line about mental health takes courage and strength. It’s likely that someone you know is experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety, and you have the power to make a difference in their lives. Take action for Men’s Health Month by looking out for those that you love. If you think you or a loved-one may be experiencing signs of a mental illness, visit the NM 5-Actions Program™ assessment tools to take a free, quick and confidential screen for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, and/or Alcohol or Substance Use problems. And remember you are not alone. If you or someone you know needs to talk about distresses being experienced, you can access support and talk to a professional counselor on the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line by calling 1-855-662-7474, and you can talk to a professional peer support with lived experience on the New Mexico Peer-to-Peer Warmline by calling or texting 1-855-466-7100. We are here to hear you when you need to talk.
LGBTQIA+ Pride Awareness Month: Celebrate people for who they are. LGBTQIA+ Pride month marks the continued movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against people within our communities. It is an excellent time to talk with others about struggles people experience and how we can work together to achieve equality, equity, justice, and wellness in all aspects of a persons life. The advocacy that has been done in the gender and sex minority (GSM) community has facilitated incredible changes throughout history, created opportunities to understand causes of discriminatory practices, and allowed us to move towards solutions. But this work is not done and LGBTQIA+ pride awareness month allows us an opportunity to continue learning about important people, movements, and legislation that have facilitated change. Let’s work together to create awareness on equality, equity, and wellness that still needs to occur. Join us to advocate and educate communities on approaches that eliminate disparities and reduce implicit biases that lend to discriminatory practices. Understand how stigma and implicit bias often prevents people from feeling comfortable in accessing care – both physical and mental health. Find learning resources to improve service delivery and reduce stigmas in a healthcare practice at the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center
- Promote the agencies where people can access services and find additional information: Heal+NM, Transgender Resource Center of NM, NM-PED’s services directory for LGBTQ+ students NM GSA Network, The Trevor Project
- Understand the data: Go to NAMI or the NM DOH report on Addressing the health needs of gender and sex minorities (GSM) in New Mexico for more info.
New Mexico Peer-to-Peer Warmline hours have changed. If you want to talk to someone who has been there and understands the emotional, mental, and behavioral health concerns you may be experiencing then call us to talk to a professional peer support specialist on the Peer-to-Peer Warmline between 7:00 a.m. – 11:30pm MT. Call us at 1-855-466-7100. Our peer support specialists are real people who have recovered from their own mental health concerns, parents that have helped a youth with a mental health diagnosis navigate the system of care, and resource foster parents that understand the emotional struggles you and the foster youth you are supporting experiences. We are here to hear you
Memorial Day Today we honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military and remind those that may struggle that Forward Flag provides Suicide Prevention Training and activities to help reduce the high rate of veteran suicide.
World Schizophrenia Disorder Awareness Day: Schizophrenia disorder is a serious mental health diagnosis affecting more than 21 million people worldwide according to the World Health Organization. The purpose of this day is to spread awareness about what the diagnosis of schizophrenia is, eradicate the myths, dispel superstitions, and reduce stigmas regarding mental health. It is possible to live well with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The exact prevalence of people living with a diagnosis of schizophrenia is difficult to measure, but estimates range from 0.25% to 0.64% of U.S. adults. A person can be diagnosed with schizophrenia at any age. However, the usual age of onset tends to be in the late teens to the early 20s for men, and the late 20s to early 30s for women. It is uncommon for schizophrenia to be diagnosed in a person younger than 12 or older than 40. Schizophrenia is a complex, long-term medical diagnosis where a person experiences confused thinking, delusions and/or hallucinations as a result of certain chemicals, in certain areas of the brain, being out of balance. When this chemical imbalance occurs, there can be a lack of co-ordination between thoughts, actions, and emotions. This means that the effects of the disorder interfere with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions, and relate to others. Take steps to find ways that will reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding schizophrenia. Learn more about the diagnosis of schizophrenia through the National Institute of Mental Health. Take the time to listen to people. People with a diagnosis of schizophrenia have described their symptoms in a variety of ways. How a person describes symptoms often depends on the cultural lens they are looking through. Click here for tips on helping someone experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia. There is no health without mental health, and there is a path to wellness. You are not alone. If you are a person who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, try to work with a healthcare professional that understands your cultural background, and shares the same expectations for treatment. When you are experiencing symptoms associated with schizophrenia, or any other mental health concern, know that there professional counselors available to talk to on the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line. Call us at 1-855-662-7474
Maternal and Child Health Programs: In many countries, as many as 1 in 5 new mothers experiences some type of postpartum depression or perinatal mood and anxiety disorder. These diagnoses frequently go unnoticed, untreated, and can result with tragic and long-term consequences to both mother and child. Raising awareness on maternal mental health, postpartum depression, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders draws attention to these concerns that mothers and families can experience, and assists people in finding paths to wellness. No one is immune to postpartum depression or perinatal mood and anxiety disorder! Women of every culture, age, income level and race can develop these symptoms any time during pregnancy, and through the first 12 months after childbirth. This is why it is important to let people know that mental health care is just as important as physical healthcare. When we encourage people to treat their whole health, we assist people in finding the necessary support and resources that can lead to enhanced resilience during difficult life circumstances. This in turn leads to people find ways that nurture children optimally. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or perinatal mood and anxiety disorder speak up and seek help. You are not alone. Caring for a new baby is hard, and having postpartum depression or perinatal mood and anxiety disorder can make it even more difficult for a mother to care for herself and her child. Services are available through the ECECD’s Home Visiting and Families FIRST services and the New Mexico Department of Health.
Honoring our elders and Tribal communities: This week we celebrate our elders, their resiliency, and their leadership across the state. Serving as knowledge keepers, elders teach us that mental health is important for the whole family. In Tribal communities, mental well-being is both intergenerational and holistic, where eldest to the youngest members play a vital role in community wellness. A beautiful way to improve mental health and encourage our neighbors is to get involved in intergenerational volunteer opportunities. Learn more on how communities are working to bolster behavioral health in Indigenous communities and take the pledge to join the Indian Affairs Department and Aging and Long-term Services Department to showcase the importance of mental health for elders and Tribal communities.
Mental Health Awareness Month: Raise awareness about mental health, provide support to people that may be struggling, share information on tools that help people improve their mental health, and support efforts that offer opportunities for communities to increase resiliency. Join Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and take the pledge to raise awareness about mental health.
- Pledge to engage in activities to support your mental wellness.
- Pledge to be a support to others who may be contending with isolation, stress, sadness, grief, substance use, or another mental or behavioral health condition.
- Pledge to reach out, to listen, and to offer hope to children, youth, elders, mothers, fathers, friends, colleagues, and community members.
- Pledge to reach and show people that they are not alone.
- Pledge to end the stigma around mental health.
Remember that we are each other’s greatest resource, and that the path to wellness can often be found through connection with others. Find ways to help people thrive by educating the public on resources, advocating for policies that support people with mental and behavioral health concerns, and strive to reduce stigma associated with mental health.
- Show individuals respect and acceptance for this removes barriers that assist people in finding tools to thrive and successfully cope with concerns they may be experiencing.
- Treat people as individuals, and not as an illness, for this does make a difference for someone who is struggling with a mental health concern.
- Advocate within your circles of influence to help ensure people have the same rights and opportunities as other members of the community.
- Learn more about mental health and how to assist someone in a recovery friendly manner, for this creates pathways where people can access support within communities.
- Strengthen the protective social determinants of health that offer opportunities for healthy people and communities.
- Encourage people that are struggling to engage with a counselor. You can find help now at the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line by calling 1-855-662-7474.
- Click here to learn more about how New Mexico state agencies are working together to support mental health initiatives, programs, and the #PathToWellness.
- Follow the Behavioral Health Collaborative to learn more information on how the State of New Mexico is supporting efforts to create Paths to Wellness.
National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to focus on growing stronger support systems that lend to creating thriving families. Prevention of child abuse and neglect is possible when we learn how to recognize risks, incorporate protective factors to keep children safe, and work with families, neighborhoods, schools, communities, and states to strengthen families and promote well-being. Child Abuse Prevention Month was created because child abuse and neglect was both widespread and too often invisible. Our children are our future and need a safe, stable, and nurturing environment as that can have a proven positive effect on brain development. Research shows that children who suffer from the prolonged stress of abuse and neglect tend to struggle in their behavioral, physical, and cognitive abilities. The effects of early trauma tend to continue through generations. In contrast, experiencing support in early childhood can prevent or even reverse the damaging effects of early life stress, with lifelong benefits for a young person’s learning, behavior, and health. Whatever seeds have been planted, or not planted, will affect a person’s health, ability to learn, and ultimately, earning power.
Together we must work collaboratively to increase awareness and collectively act to ensure that when we see something, that we say something. Strengthening the protective capacities of parents helps children and families thrive and prevents child maltreatment. There is a Path to Wellness, visit CYFD to learn more.
National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate, recognize and thank volunteers; to create awareness for the important work happening in our communities; and think about how you may want to consider volunteering. Read more about the health benefits of volunteering to find out how volunteering has not only an immeasurable difference in the lives of others, but how how much you help yourself by giving back.
Black Maternal Health Week allows us to come together and advance health equity across the country on behalf of all racial and ethnic minorities. It is imperative that we acknowledge the hardships that people face. It takes a unified effort to empower people in our community. Empowerment begins with defining and acknowledging the systemic barriers that act as root causes in our communities, and working together to facilitate change. As we strive to create change, we must look at some of the stigmas and inequalities within our communities that can create barriers to people accessing care. When people do not access care, mental health conditions can go untreated and make things worse in one’s life. Read more about rewriting the narrative to find out just how alarming the Black maternal health crisis has become in the U.S. today.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month: The internet has become the new public space where people connect with family, friends, co-workers, romantic partners, and strangers alike. From virtual meetings, chats, video calls, interactions on social media, and dating apps, most communication is currently taking place through screens. As technology has evolved to become such a large part of our everyday lives, our awareness of ways it is being used to bully, threaten, and abuse others has increased as well. Some common online abusive behaviors include posting unsolicited explicit messages and images, child pornography, online harassment, and numerous other ways that consent and boundaries are being breached. Some of these acts are identified as criminal under the law, others violate policies put in place by online platforms (like Zoom, Instagram, Match, and Tinder), and all of these acts of unsolicited harassments have an impact to one’s mental health and wellbeing. With that in mind we need to remember that while sometimes these events remain in the online setting, often times the abuse, assault, harassment, and violence initiated online emerges to an in person setting. So, no matter where the abuse occurs, the impact on the victim, their loved ones, and the community is harmful. Help is available, go to the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (NMCASP) to find resources. Sexual violence is an umbrella term that includes any type of unwanted sexual contact — either in person or online — including sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. Forms of sexual violence include: Rape or sexual assault; Sexual harassment; Sexual abuse; Unwanted sexual contact/touching; Sexual exploitation and trafficking; Exposing one’s genitals or naked body to others without consent; Nonconsensual image sharing; Words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent; and Sexual violence represents a range of behaviors. Sexual violence represents a range of behaviors: From sexual assault to catcalling, acts of sexual harassment and violence fall within a spectrum of behaviors. Certain behaviors are clear-cut examples of online sexual abuse, like “Zoom-bombing” and links to pornography, while there are other behaviors that some may say seem like less of a big deal, like sending a partner an unwanted sexual text on a dating app. The reality is that both of these behaviors are influenced by the same attitudes and beliefs that are attributed to from social norms that directly or indirectly condone these behaviors, traditional ideas about masculinity and femininity, attempts to demand and degrade people, and various other forms of oppression. Awareness and action during Sexual Assault Awareness Month: This April, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, learn how you can practice consent online, keep the people in your life safe from abuse, facilitate and participate in respectful online communities, explore the impact that trauma from abuse can have, and know that there are options available for victims and survivors looking for support.
Bipolar Disorder Awareness: We all have our ups and downs, but for a person with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder these peaks and valleys are more severe. Bipolar disorder causes serious shifts in a persons mood, energy, thinking, and behavior—from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. It is more than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of a bipolar disorder experience last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of a bipolar disorder encounter are so intense that they can interfere with a persons job or school performance, damage relationships, and disrupt a persons ability to function in daily life. Bipolar disorder is a diagnosable and treatable mental health condition. However, the signs and symptoms can be subtle and confusing. Many people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder are often overlooked or misdiagnosed at first, resulting in unnecessary suffering. Since the effects of a bipolar disorder diagnosis tend to worsen without treatment, it’s important to learn what the signs and symptoms look like. Recognizing that a person may have a mental health diagnosis is the first step to feeling better and getting life back on track. If you or someone you know may be experiencing the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, reach out to a mental health professional for an assessment and discussion on how to develop solutions that can improve life. Call us at 1-855-662-7474 if you need someone to talk to about your substance use and mental health concerns. Professional counselors are here to hear you and offer support on the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And, check out the NM 5-Actions Program™ to begin your online self-guided substance use and behavioral addictions recovery and resiliency path.
National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week: National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW), an annual health observance week designed to connect people with resources to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs and alcohol. By shattering the myths about drugs and alcohol, we help people find ways to talk about the substance use concerns they may be experiencing. There are countless activities that teens, parents, caregivers, and teachers can do to increase awareness on substance use, and how to talk about it.
- Explore the Nurturing My Mental & Emotional Health activity to help people find strategies to cope with stress and support their mental health.
- Take the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge. Test your knowledge about drugs and alcohol with this short, interactive quiz.
- Play the Kahoot! games to test your knowledge on how drugs and alcohol affect people’s brains and bodies.
- Share your SHATTER THE MYTHS® pledge card and tweet, snap, or post drug and alcohol facts on social media.
- Participate in the Drug Facts Challenge!, an interactive game using scientific facts about the brain and addiction, marijuana, vaping, and more.
- Use free, science-based resource activity ideas on various topics; science and standards based lessons and multimedia activities on drugs; and the recently updated Mind Matters series, which helps explain the effects of various drugs on the brain and body.
- Check out the NM 5-Actions Program™ to begin your online self-guided substance use and behavioral addictions recovery and resiliency path.
- Call us at 1-855-662-7474 if you need someone to talk to about your substance use and mental health concerns. Professional counselors are here to hear you and offer support on the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
How Can You Use Journaling to Improve Your Mental Health: Writing in a journal can significantly improve your mental health and your physical health. Writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them. Journaling and expressive writing has been found to: boost your mood/affect; enhance your sense of well-being; reduce symptoms of depression before an important event (like an exam); reduce intrusion and avoidance symptoms post-trauma; and improve your working memory. It’s hypothesized that writing works to enhance your mental health through guiding previously inhibited emotions (reducing the stress from inhibition), helping you to process difficult events, and allows you to compose a coherent narrative about your experiences. Your journaling will be most effective if you do it daily for about 20 minutes. Begin anywhere, and forget spelling and punctuation. The most important rule of all is that there are no rules. You can read more on how to keep a mental health journal and help yourself get started with these 30 Journaling Prompts for Self-Reflection and Self-Discovery.
International Women’s Day: Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can all choose to recognize gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate the achievements of people. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. If you are experiencing mental health concerns as a result of inequalities, and need to talk, professional counselors are here to hear you and offer real help on the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call us at 1-855-662-7474. If you want to help advance opportunities for women and girls statewide, go to NewMexicoWomen .Org to see what they are doing to encourage women and girls to lead self-sufficient, healthy, and empowered lives.
Self-Injury Awareness Month: Self-injury is any form of hurting oneself on purpose. Approximately 1% of the United States population uses physical self-injury as a way of dealing with overwhelming feelings or situations, often using it to speak when no words will come. Each year, one in five females and one in seven males engage in self-harm behaviors; 90 percent of individuals who engage in self-harm begin during their teen or pre-adolescent years; Nearly 50 percent of individuals who engage in self-injury activities have been sexually abused; Females comprise 60 percent of individuals who engage in self-injurious behavior; Approximately 50 percent of those who engage in self harm behavior begin 14 years of age and continue into their 20s; Many individuals who engage in self-injury behavior report learning how to do so from their friends or pro self-injury websites or social media pages; Approximately two million cases are reported annually in the United States. All of these self-injury statistics come from reliable sources however truly accurate rates and trends associated with self harm are difficult to come by because the majority of individuals who engage in self harm behavior conceal their activities. Their behaviors may never come to the attention of medical professionals or other social services. Despite the fact that self-injury is far from rare, myths and misunderstanding surround this psychological ailment — mistaken ideas that often result in people that engage in self-injury being treated badly by police, doctors, therapists, and emergency room personnel.
- Why Do People Self-Injure?: Everyone needs a way to cope with their emotions. For some people, when depression and anxiety lead to a tornado of emotions, they turn to self-injury looking for a release. People who self-injure have turned to hurting themselves as their coping mechanism to manage their emotions. Usually, when people self-injure, they do not do so as a suicide attempt. Rather, they self-injure as a way to release painful emotions. So, people might self-injure to: Process their negative feelings; Distract themselves from their negative feelings; Feel something physical, particularly if they are feeling numb; Develop a sense of control over their lives; Punish themselves for things they think they’ve done wrong; Express emotions that they are otherwise embarrassed to show.
- Effects of Self-Injury: Self-injury can be seriously dangerous—physically, emotionally, socially, all of it.
Physical Effects of Self-Injury: Permanent scars; Uncontrolled bleeding; Infection; Emotional Effects of Self-Harm; Guilt or shame; A diminished sense of self, including feeling helpless or worthless; Addiction to the behavior. Social Effects of Self-Injury: Avoiding friends and loved ones; Becoming ostracized from loved ones who may not understand; Interpersonal difficulty from lying to others about injuries
- Types of Self-Injury: Self-injury can manifest differently for everyone. And, the ways people may self-injury extend far beyond the usual references to cutting in media. Simply, self-injury is anything and everything someone can do to purposely hurt their body. Here are some of the most common types of self-injury: Cutting; Scratching; Burning; Carving words or symbols into the ski;, Hitting or punching oneself (including banging one’s head or other body parts against another surface); Piercing the skin with sharp objects such as hairpins; Pulling out hair; Picking at existing wounds.
- Symptoms of Self-Injury: Stigma creates shame and embarrassment, making it hard for people who self-injure to get help. So, look out for yourself and for your pals. If you suspect that someone in your life is self-injuring, here are some warning signs to keep top of mind: Scars; Fresh cuts, burns, scratches, or bruises; Rubbing an area excessively to create a burn; Having sharp objects on hand; Wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather; Difficulties with interpersonal relationships; Persistent questions about personal identity; Behavioral and emotional instability, impulsiveness, or unpredictability; Saying that they feel helpless, hopeless, or worthless.
- How to Deal With Self-Injury: We all need healthy ways to cope with the hard stuff. We’re here to help you find a healthy alternative to self-injury. Emotions can be really painful sometimes. It’s totally normal to need ways to cope with and process the hard things in your life. If you are using self-injury to manage your emotions, we’re here for you. And, we want to help keep you safe. Here are some ways to push through, process, and cope with your emotions: Reach out to someone to talk when you are dealing with painful emotions, We’re here to hear you and offer help. Call us to connect with a mental health professional and strategize healthy coping mechanisms to manage your emotions. Get creative. Studies show that diving into making art can help people process emotions. So, next time you’re feeling like self-injuring, grab your sharpie and doodle your worries away. Find your zen. Keeping yourself safe from self-injuring is all about finding healthy alternatives to work through the hard stuff. Researchers found taking time to re-center through meditation to be a powerful way to find your cool and calm. Try using a mindfulness app to help you combat anxiety, sleep better, hone your focus, and more. Talk to a pro. Self-injury is serious. And, while the intention behind self-injury usually is not death, it can still be dangerous—both physically and emotionally. Talking to someone who can help you find alternatives is incredibly important. You can find a provider in the community on the New Mexico Network of Care. Know that you are not in this alone. Tell someone you know what is going on. Ask them if they can help you connect with a professional.
- Recovering from Self-Injury: A lot of people who self-injure do so because they are dealing with painful emotions. If this applies to you, hi—we believe in you and recognize your pain. Because painful emotions are at the root of self-injury, quite often recovering from self-injury involves addressing emotions. Breaking away from the cycle of self-injury can feel like a huge climb. It involves breaking a habit that has once brought comfort from pain. But, it is not impossible. Here are some steps to set you up for success: Name your reason for hurting yourself and your reason for quitting. Ask yourself: “What do I feel before, during, and after self-injury? Which of those emotions do I actively seek out, and which are harmful?” Identify other ways of achieving the same result. For example, if you self-injure for the physical sensation, seek other ways of releasing endorphins, like exercise. For real, try throwing a few punches at a kickboxing class or tapping it back in a spin class with the *perfect* playlist. If you self-injure to express your emotions, practice expressing them in words by writing them down. Grab a pen and your favorite notebook, or start typing away in your notes app. Tackle the underlying emotions. Explore the feelings that lead you to want to hurt yourself. If it’s guilt, where is that guilt coming from? Maybe try finding a therapist—there are pros trained specifically to help with this. Tell someone you trust. Let a friend, family member, or trusted adult know what you’re going through and that you need their support. Opening up to people can be easier said than done. Here’s a place to start: “I’m having a hard time processing some painful emotions and I could use your support right now.”
Eating disorders affect people of every age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation and background. Eating disorders are illnesses in which people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors, have extreme thoughts and emotions related to their eating behaviors and body image, and experience serious medical and mental health concerns as a result of obsessions with food, body weight, and shape. Eating disorders can affect a person’s physical and mental health; in some cases, they can be life-threatening. But eating disorders can be treated. Learning more about them can help you spot the warning signs and seek treatment early. Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice. They are biologically-influenced medical illnesses. The exact cause of eating disorders is not fully understood, but research suggests a combination of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors can raise a person’s risk. Eating disorders affect people of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weights, and genders. Although eating disorders often appear during the teen years or young adulthood, they may also develop during childhood or later in life (40 years and older). People with eating disorders may appear healthy, yet be extremely ill. If you think you, or someone you know, may have an eating disorder that interferes with the persons happiness or ability to function, then the person may want to consider seeking help.
Teen dating violence awareness month is part of a national effort to raise awareness and protect teens from violence. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicate that 8.6% of high school students in NM who dated have experienced physical dating violence in the past 12 months. Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms, understand the impacts of teen dating violence, encourage people to learn about healthy relationships and self empowerment, and advocate for people to seek support. Remember that young people are tremendously affected by their relationship experiences. The consequences of teen dating violence can affect ones emotional and mental development. Understand that many times young people and adults are unaware that teens experience dating violence, but unhealthy relationships can begin early and its effects can remain for a lifetime. Learn more about how to spot the red flags of abuse and the patterns of violence. Know there is a path to wellness, learn about healthy relationships and self-empowerment. Click here for more information and statistics.
Self-Care and Self-Love are important to incorporate into your everyday life in order to find and maintain mental wellness. Self-care means taking care of yourself physically and mentally. Self-love means showing kindness to yourself. If you are able to take care of yourself and love yourself, you will be able to be more present and find ways to engage in self-care. Read this article to learn more about incorporating self-care into your life as you guide yourself to a self-love journey. Then, when you are engaging in self-care and finding ways to support yourself, remember that one way of doing this, is to engage in self-compassion exercises that show you that you are being kind to yourself. Check out this article for 9 ways to practice self-love for your mental health.
Black History Month: “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” focusing on the African Diaspora and the spread of Black families across the country. For more information on what New Mexico is doing to support the African American community visit: New Mexico Office of African American Affairs. Please visit the NAMI website for more information on what happens at the intersection of mental health and one’s experience as a member of a Black or African American community.
National Freedom Day: Where we celebrate President Lincoln’s signing of a resolution that became the 13th Amendment, ending slavery. On this day the US Department of the State has committed to Deepening The Resolve to Fight Human Trafficking. And, as we proceed forward into Black History Month, we encourage you to reflect on heroes of past and present who have carried on the fight for freedom and equality. Such as Carter G. Woodson, a prominent historian and author, who created the celebration of Black History, that used to be a week to honor the vast contributions Black Americans made to American society, then nearly six decades later in 1976, President Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month.
Honoring Native Life: During these times we need to positively impact the health and well-being of the community. Click here to watch supportive videos and learn more about the diverse health promotion and prevention education programs, and specialized public health services, available through the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, Inc. (AAIHB).
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophies on human rights, equality, nonviolence, social change, unity, and interconnectedness allowed people to believe that we can all live a life without fear of oppression or restriction. On the third Monday of every January we celebrate this civil rights leader’s life and legacy. Click here to learn about the State of New Mexico’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commissions purpose and vision.
Human Trafficking Awareness: If you suspect sex or labor trafficking is happening, call 911 and the NM Human Trafficking Hotline at 505-GET-FREE (505-438-3733). More information on human trafficking prevention efforts, outreach, and aftercare is available online at 505GetFree.org You are not alone. Click here to watch a video on awareness efforts and click here to watch a video on outreach and aftercare efforts.
Path To Wellness Message: You are not alone. There is a path to wellness. If you need to talk, the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line is here to hear you. Click here to watch a public service announcement video.
REACH NM: The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) REACH NM provides text-based child abuse and neglect reporting, and direct engagement with CYFD workers. This new service allows you to text with a CYFD expert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. REACH NM can assist you in finding resources and report concerns of child abuse and neglect. Click here for more information on the REACH NM service.
Healthy Holiday Tips: Some people may feel social distancing contributes to additional stressors during this unprecedented holiday season; while others may find current public health orders offer a relief from the normal hustle and bustle. Ensure that we are finding ways to take care of our mental health during this season. Click here for tips from Mental Health First Aid USA.
The NM 5-Actions Program™ is a new online digital health self-guided platform for New Mexicans (18 and older) to access help and find hope for a brighter future. Visit the website to learn more about how someone experiencing addictions with alcohol, drugs, substances, or behavioral matters (gambling, sex, food, technology) can begin their free online self-guided journey.
We will get through this together: New Mexicans helping each other – that’s what communities have done since the pandemic began. State agencies are collaborating on mental health initiatives and creating campaigns to urge self-care for all New Mexicans amid the public health crisis. Click here for the State of New Mexico press release on the Path To Wellness.
Welcome to Mental Health Monday Path to Wellness: Every Monday we will send a new NMConnect push notification connecting people to information and offering hope. Click here for information on Mental Health Mondays.
Staying Safe During the Holidays: This holiday season do what’s best for you and your loved ones. Click here for CDC recommendations regarding holiday celebrations.
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day: You can find connection, understanding, and hope through sharing experiences with other. Learn more at www.afsp.org.
Moments Together With Children: There are tons of simple everyday moments you share with a child. Click here for easy tips and free resources for early learning.
World Kindness Day: Kindness makes a difference in our lives. Click here for more information on ways to be kind to yourself.
Self Help Information
Dealing with the Effects of Trauma: A Self-Help Guide
Gives guidance on coping with the mental health effects of trauma and taking charge of one’s own recovery. Discusses the process of seeking help from a professional care provider, and lists daily and long-range activities to feel better.
Action Planning for Prevention and Recovery: A Self Help Guide
Guides people with mental illness or disability in developing an action plan for prevention and recovery. Addresses wellness, daily maintenance, triggers, early warning signs, signs that things are breaking down, and crisis intervention.
Building Self-Esteem: A Self-Help Guide
Gives self-help tips to raise self-esteem and prevent troubling thoughts and feelings on the path to recovery. Explains the link between self-esteem, depression, and other mental illnesses. Includes daily and long-range exercises to build self-esteem.
Recovering Your Mental Health: A Self-Help Guide
Suggests self-help strategies that people can use to manage their mental illness and recovery. Discusses signs of depression or other mental disorder, what to do about serious symptoms, patient rights, and questions to ask about medications.
Speaking Out for Yourself: A Self-Help Guide
Gives self-help tips on how to become a strong self-advocate, and emphasizes the importance of understanding patient rights. Provides assertiveness tips for dealing with daily issues, and describes how to create a plan for when others need to take over.
Making and Keeping Friends: A Self-Help Guide
Emphasizes the value of friends in the recovery process. Describes self-help activities for making new friends, keeping friendships strong, establishing and honoring boundaries, resolving problems, and building skills that enhance friendships.
Developing a Recovery and Wellness Lifestyle: A Self-Help Guide
Gives self-help tips to aid in taking action to create a recovery and wellness lifestyle. Topics covered include access to health care, lifestyle, home, employment, diet, exercise, light, and sleep. Lists simple things to do to improve quality of life.
Lifeline for Attempt Survivors
Suicide Attempt Survivors
Loss Survivor Resources
Video Tips on How to Have a #RealConvo About Mental Health
Short and easy-to-understand videos with down-to-earth, practical tips on how you can have a #RealConvo about mental health with the people in your life.
Suicide Anonymous Fellowship
Taking Care of Yourself After Your Treatment in the ER
Gives support for people recovering from a suicide attempt. Discusses how to move ahead after emergency department treatment for a suicide attempt and how to cope with thoughts of suicide. Lists information resources for suicide and mental illness.
Taking Care of a Family Member after Treatment in the ER
Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative’s suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.
Substance Use/Harm Reduction
NM 5-Actions Program
The NM 5-Actions Program is a self-guided, online learning program designed to help people address challenges with substance use (alcohol and drugs) and/or addictive behaviors (gambling, sex, food, technology). Access a new way to help yourself.
Dose of Reality Website
A Dose of Reality is New Mexico’s substance use resource provider supported by the New Mexico Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Services Division, and the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP).
Next Step Toward a Better Life
Describes the stages of recovery from alcohol and drug abuse and what to expect after leaving detoxification services. Offers guidance in adjusting to sobriety just after detox and through long-term recovery; discusses legal issues; and lists resources.
Services related to HIV, STDs, Viral Hepatitis, and Harm Reduction
Resources and information about services related to HIV, STDs, Viral Hepatitis, and Harm Reduction.
Facts on Common Substance Use Disorders
Risks of Prescription Painkiller Abuse
Raising Awareness of the Risks of Prescription Painkiller Abuse
The State of New Mexico’s Behavioral Health Services Division has resources for Self Help and Support Groups.
Preparing for a Telehealth Appointment
Use this resource from SMI Adviser to help you prepare for video appointments. It contains simple tips about things you should consider.
If you’re looking for training to be more effective in helping others around you, consider taking a training through one of these available platforms:
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a course that helps people recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness, giving people the reassurance to find help for themselves or others. Classes are regularly offered throughout our community and can be found on the MHFA website.
Question Persuade Refer (QPR) is a one hour class that helps people recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of suicide. Trainings available online.
Telephone Crisis Intervention Training Videos highlight the comprehensive clinical training each of our clinical specialists receives. The training is also beneficial for mental health professionals, crisis line volunteers, and concerned citizens. Click here to watch the online modules.
Community, Mental Health Provider, and Peer Support Worker Trainings are available at multiple agencies throughout the state. Check out the following agencies for opportunities:
Serna Solutions LLC
LifeLink Training Institute