Mental Health Awareness, in June and Beyond – Coping Strategies 


    Mental Health Awareness Month (May) is over, but tending to our well-being is always important.  

    Being an advocate for suicide prevention and addressing the importance of tending to our mental health, I am discovering that many believe that mental health only refers to those with a mental illness, mental issue, or mental concern. According to the Oxford Dictionary, Mental Health is “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” Mental health includes everyone. Regardless of all the categories listed here, our mental health needs to be addressed daily. I always say, “I believe we are doing the best we can with the tools we have.” As we go through life and are met with new challenges, we must keep adjusting and adding new tools to support our overall well-being. 

    I recently interviewed Mental Health & Suicide Education Expert Anne Moss Rogers on my Connection & Prevention podcast about coping strategies. Below is a list of coping strategies that can be used to deal with stress, the loss of a loved one, and/or when we are having unpleasant thoughts and want to shift into a healthier mindset: 

    Coping Strategies: 

    1. Coldwater – When I was younger and upset, my mom gave me a cold washcloth to calm me down, and it worked! I still use this technique for high-stress situations for myself and my son. As I have gotten older, I have taken this therapeutic technique further and added cold plunges into my monthly routine. Susanna Soberg, PhD, a scientist specializing in metabolism, resilience with stress, and cold and heat, and author of Winter Swimming, says, “Cold water therapy builds resilience.” Soberg said, “When you handle this short-term stress and learn to calm the nervous system, you learn to stay calm in other stressful situations.”

    2. Expressive Writing – I like to set my timer for 20 minutes and write without stopping. Sometimes I dive right into what concerns me, and other times, it takes a bit for emotional and traumatic situations to surface. I also find it beneficial to read what I wrote out loud. Observing the process, I went through to get to the root of what needs tending to is enlightening. Harvard Health Publishing released an article stating that “Stress, trauma, and unexpected life developments — such as a cancer diagnosis, a car accident, or a layoff — can throw people off stride emotionally and mentally. Writing about thoughts and feelings that arise from a traumatic or stressful life experience — called expressive writing — may help some people cope with the emotional fallout of such events. But it’s not a cure-all and won’t work for everyone. Expressive writing appears to be more effective for people who are not also struggling with ongoing or severe mental health challenges, such as major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

    3. Forgiveness – In my interview with Anne Moss, she discussed her process for self-forgiveness. Her first step was setting a clear intention, “I will forgive myself for this.” Anne Moss shared that when she felt extreme anger or sadness, she set a time limit on how long she could entertain the unpleasant thoughts and emotions, and when the timer went off, she moved on with her day. Each day she took decreased the time until one day, she discovered she had completely forgiven herself. 

    4. Exercise – There are many benefits to exercising, and we each have our reasons and approach to getting up and moving. When I set out for my run, I set a clear intention with what I want to process and how I want to feel from my workout. My intention is always achieved, and I end up being the dorky-looking woman on the side of the road running with an ear-to-ear grin. According to an article released by Mayo Clinic, “Regular exercise may help ease depression and anxiety by:

    ·       Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids), and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being

    ·       Taking your mind off worries so you can escape the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety.” 

    There are many more coping strategies we can utilize to manage daily stress. What works for one person might not work for another, and that’s ok. The point is, don’t give up! There is something for everyone. For a list of more coping strategies, please get in touch with me at 


    Additional Resources:

    988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

    The Jed Foundation

    American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


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