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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Today's blog is written by Susan Rohan, Hope Haven IPR (Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation) Practitioner 

Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness month.

As part of that, I was asked to talk a little about both what is new in the world of mental health and what Hope Haven offers for mental health services. Let me introduce myself. My name is Susan Rohan and I work in the Spencer office as the Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner.

Firstly - Hope Haven has three mental health programs Key to Success, IPS and Peer Support. 

Key to Success: A program that is designed to assist individuals with mental health struggles to obtain or recover successful and satisfying roles in their community.

IPS: An evidence-based practice of supported employment for persons with serious mental illness. IPS is different from other types of supported employment in that employment services to an individual are integrated with his/her mental health treatment.

Peer Support: Recovery mentors (people who are living well in their own recovery from mental illness) assist adults with mental illness on the journey of recovery by providing support through shared experience.

What is new in the realm of mental health? The resounding thought is, “pandemic brain.”  We are living in a very different world than we were even a year ago. Research is being done on what the pandemic and social isolation have done to our minds and let’s be honest: the results are not surprising.  One article stated that our cognitive functioning has been drastically affected and we are less able to process both emotions and new information. 

We should take to heart that we are inherently social creatures and need to make time for building connections with others. Yet, after a year of taking steps back from others, doing online holidays with loved ones, and not being able to attend our favorite events, we are forgetting just how to do that. 

Mental Health Scrabble Tiles

We will have to re-learn social connection and how to understand body language. How do we take the time to recognize our losses in the last year, honor those feelings associated with our losses, and re-build society to care for our neighbors? We need to care for each other, ourselves, and find ways to fill our own cups.

That way, when we are all faced with the harsh reality of the world - we have the strength, compassion, and energy to carry on through the face of adversity and struggle.  We are stronger together when we honor each individual for their unique perspective. 

Mental Health Awareness month will come and go yet again this year. 

What will you do between this May and the next to bring awareness and understanding? I will continue to advocate for individuals, learn, and speak up when I see injustice. I will struggle with how to be the leader that is needed.  I will fail and then I will get back up with a deeper understanding, a better perspective, and new ideas on how I can be a light to others. 

And at the end of the day, I will know that what I did was not perfect, but it was done with care, compassion, and joy.  Good luck to you, and I pray that these words have touched you in some way. 

- Susan Rohan, IPR Practitioner, Key to Success

Hope Haven

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