Tips for Tackling Insomnia So You Can Enjoy Your Summer Trip

Insomnia can be frustrating and exhausting at any time of year. But struggling with sleeplessness when you want to be enjoying the summer trip you’ve been looking forward to is especially irritating. So, before you hop on a plane or head out on your road trip, take action to get into a good groove with your sleep. That way you’ll have plenty of energy to enjoy your adventure.

Great Ways to Get More Zzzzzs

When you’re tossing and turning at night, it might feel like insomnia will never loosen its grip on you. However, there are a number of things you can do to increase your chances to have longer and better quality sleep. Try these proven strategies:

  • Create the proper sleeping environment. If possible, your bedroom should be dark, quiet and relatively cool. Those conditions signal the body that it’s time to rest. If noises outside your room catch your attention, you might consider playing some soft “white noise” to mask the sound. Consider purchasing a sleep mask to keep the light out when a dark room is not available.
  • Establish a consistent rhythm. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day helps your body understand when it should rest and when it should be active. Stick to a set schedule as much as possible.
  • Limit or eliminate naps. Your lack of sleep may make you want to nap during the day, but unfortunately, napping can make the insomnia worse. Your best bet to achieve a good night’s sleep is to go to bed feeling tired, and remember napping can mean you have more energy than you should at bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try not to consume caffeine late in the day. Or better yet, remove it from your diet altogether. Alcohol has a sedative effect on the body. However, that effect only lasts for a few hours after your last drink. After that, alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to get restful sleep and can cause frequent awakenings.
  • Don’t eat or drink just before bedtime. Activating your digestive system just before trying to sleep is a bad idea for multiple reasons, including things like heartburn that can make it hard to drift off. And, consuming fluids may result in one or more trips to the bathroom overnight.
  • Get regular exercise. Working out consistently can improve both the quality and the quantity of your sleep. And while the advice has always been to avoid exercising within three or four hours of bedtime, some recent studies are questioning that age-old wisdom. You should experiment to see what’s best for you.
  • Limit your activities in bed. Your bed should be used for sleeping and romance only. Watching TV, reading, paying bills and other activities teach your brain that this is a place where you should be doing other things, which makes it hard to “switch off” when you’re ready to sleep.
  • Reduce your stress. Worry is one of the main causes of insomnia for many people. There are a number of ways to decrease your stress including things like meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing, biofeedback and progressive muscle relaxation to name just a few. Journaling about your concerns can also be beneficial as you get anxious thought onto paper and out of your head temporarily.

Get Some Sleep Before You Get on the Road

Your summer vacation is no time to be struggling with insomnia. Prepare for your trip by taking steps to manage it. We have programs for treating sleeplessness and associated. Contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to learn about our services. We have centers in the Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

Self-Care Tips for Parents Traveling with a Child Who Has an Anxiety Disorder

Traveling with children can be challenging. Their natural energy can make it very difficult to sit still in a car or on a plane for extended periods. And taking them out of their normal routine can lead to issues like trouble sleeping and lack of appetite. When a child has an anxiety disorder, going on a trip can be especially stressful for them and their parents.

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

There are multiple types of anxiety disorders. They include:

  • Panic disorder in which an episode strikes at random and can make the person feel like they are having a heart attack or suffocating
  • Social anxiety disorder in which a person experiences overwhelming worry about everyday social situations
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in which a person has ongoing unrealistic worries
  • Phobias in which a person has an intense aversion to a specific object or action

While these disorders differ somewhat from one another, all anxiety disorders share some common symptoms such as:

  • Fear and uneasiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Inability to remain calm or to be still
  • Sweaty, numb, cold or tingling hands or feet
  • Excessive muscle tension
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea

In children with an anxiety disorder, traveling can intensify one or more of these symptoms. And if it does, parents can feel the effects as well.

Take Time for Self-Care

If your travels involve flying, you will see the presentation from flight attendants about using the oxygen mask and how you should apply yours first before helping someone else with theirs. That concept applies to mental health situations as well. In order to help your child have a travel experience that is as positive as possible, you need to ensure that you tend to your mental and emotional health too.

Here are some things you can do to address your own needs on a trip with a child who has anxiety:

  • Include plenty of downtime in your agenda. Ensuring that there are many “rest times” in your days will help your child be more calm, which in turn will help you be more relaxed.
  • Tag-team care. If you are traveling with another adult, find times when each of you can get off on your own for a bit while the other person takes care of the child.
  • Consider taking a trusted caregiver with you. If you have a babysitter or nanny that your child trusts, you can take them with you on the trip so you and your spouse or significant other can have some time away from parenting together.
  • Have a fun way to fill nap time. If your child naps during the day, take advantage of that time to read a book, watch a favorite TV show or movie, play cards or do anything you enjoy.
  • Be aware of meal times. Meal times during vacations may fluctuate. While adults can skillfully skip meals and/or go with late dinners, this suspension from routine is not as comfortable for some children who may understandably become irritable when hungry.
  • Plan a post-vacation vacation. Schedule some time for after you return from your vacation when you can relax before resuming your normal routine. Having that time to look forward to can make it easier to handle the challenges that come up on your trip.

Your Strategy for a Successful Summer Vacation

Your child’s anxiety doesn’t have to diminish the fun of your vacation. By coming up with a strategy, you can ensure that the whole family enjoys the trip. If you have questions about childhood anxiety or any mental health concern, please contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

Childhood Depression: Spotting It and Preparing a Depressed Child for Vacation

For some children, life — especially in the summertime — consists of happy, carefree days one after another. For others, however, life isn’t always so enjoyable. Many children suffer from depression and struggle to find happiness. Not just “a case of the blues,” depression is a serious mental illness that requires treatment.

Depression in children is similar to that in adults. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Ongoing feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Anger and irritability
  • Heightened sensitivity to rejection
  • Social withdrawal
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Shouting or crying
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of interest in school, friends, activities, and hobbies
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

If a child experiences these symptoms, especially a focus on death or suicide, parents should seek professional help, including taking the child to an emergency room.

Depression and Vacation

To most people, a vacation is a welcome break from the normal routine and something they look forward to with excitement. A child battling depression, however, may not see it that way. They may feel like a trip will take them away from the only place where they enjoy some measure of comfort and security. This can be especially painful for children who feel like they “survived” the school year and now just want to relax and recover at home.

While treating depression is a long-term process, there are things you can do in the short term to make a vacation more pleasant for a child who is struggling with the illness. For example, you can:

  • Encourage your child to help plan the trip. Having a sense of “ownership” of a vacation can help a child with depression feel more engaged.
  • Take favorite snacks with you. Familiar food can be a much-needed source of comfort for kids with depression. Be sure to take a supply of their favorite treats with you.
  • Pack a “happiness” kit. While a child battling depression may not find anything particularly enjoyable, things they were previously interested in (and will be again once their depression has been successfully treated) can be helpful to have with you. Pack a supply of books, games, toys etc. that your child likes and break out those items as needed.
  • Consider taking a friend. If your child is feeling social enough to enjoy time with a friend, it can be helpful to take that person along. Just be sure you’re confident that this will be a positive experience for the guest.
  • Explain the timeline. For someone who doesn’t want to be on a trip, it can seem like it will never end. Be sure your child understands how long you’ll be away from home.
  • Schedule post-trip downtime. It’s best to give a child with depression plenty of time to decompress after you return from a vacation. Lighten your family activity planning for at least a few days after your trip.

Making the Best of a Challenging Situation

A vacation is good for the mental and emotional health of the whole family. While a child with depression may not enjoy it as much as everyone else does, it’s important to look at the big picture. If your child is in need of treatment for depression, we can help. Please contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

Being Honest About a Loved One’s Alcohol Addiction Keeps You from Feeling Stressed Out

When a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction, it can be hard to admit it to yourself. You love them and want to believe the best about them, so it can be much easier to convince yourself that their behavior isn’t what it appears to be. However, you know at some level they have a problem that needs to be addressed, and not being honest with yourself can leave you feeling stressed out.

Our Hope for a Loved One vs. the Uncomfortable Reality

One of the things people fighting alcohol addiction need most from their family and friends is honesty. However, honesty can be difficult, so it’s very common for loved ones to come up with stories or excuses to cover another person’s actions. Here are some of the most common ones:

His drinking is understandable because he’s really stressed out right now. He’ll cut back when things get back to normal.

This reasoning generally doesn’t turn out to be true. For someone with an alcohol addiction, there is often a “crisis” that can be used to justify their drinking.

She only drinks in the evening after work, so she doesn’t have a problem.

The time of day a person drinks is no indication that they are dependent on alcohol. Just because they can make it through the workday without drinking doesn’t mean they don’t need help.

Compared to other people in his circle of friends, he drinks much less.

The fact that others have a more pronounced problem than your loved one doesn’t mean that person doesn’t need help. The determination of whether a person has a problem has to be based strictly on the impact alcohol is having on their life.

He doesn’t drink liquor, just beer. People with an alcohol problem drink the hard stuff.

The way a person gets their alcohol isn’t the issue. The fact that they feel they must get it is the problem. Excessive consumption of beer or wine on a regular basis is just as dangerous as drinking large amounts of hard liquor.

He works every day, attends the children’s extracurricular events, goes to church, etc., so he’s fine.

People with an alcohol addiction can develop the ability to function at a surprisingly high level even when they’ve been drinking. A person’s ability to “hold their liquor” can be an indication that they’ve been drinking too much for a long time.

Considering options.

If you find yourself standing by helplessly or making excuses for someone to reduce the impact their drinking is causing, you may be contributing to what is called “enabling” behavior, the Intervention Support website is one place to view options for consideration.

Being Honest with Yourself So You Can Be There for Them
Nobody wants to see a loved one suffer with an addiction. But avoiding the truth by making excuses will only leave you feeling helpless and stressed out. By being honest with yourself and those who may need help, you can be a positive influence toward them getting help. To learn more about our substance abuse treatment programs, please contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

5 Ways that Struggling in Marriage Counseling Can Ultimately Help You Succeed

Couples are hesitant about getting marriage counseling for many reasons. One of the most common is fear of failure. People who are already unhappy about the state of their marriage may believe that if counseling doesn’t help them resolve their problems, it will only make them feel worse. However, what many couples find is that a first round of counseling – even if it doesn’t resolve all of their issues – still puts them on the path toward healing.

What to expect in marriage counseling

How marriage counseling progresses varies based on the therapist’s approach. Some counselors will ask to talk with each participant separately before talking with the couple together. Others begin by speaking with both participants at once.

In either case, the therapist will likely ask basic questions about the history of the relationship such as how long the couple has been together, marital status, and what brought the couple to therapy. It’s important to know that the therapist is not looking to judge the individuals or the relationship, but simply to understand where things stand and what issues are causing problems so that a healthy resolution can be reached.

The upside of setbacks

While nobody looks forward to facing the challenges of marriage counseling initially, there are some very positive aspects to setbacks if you look at them the right way. For example:

Struggling helps you clarify your goals
Sometimes people enter into counseling not exactly sure what they want to get out of it. Falling short of a vague objective can help you bring goals into sharp focus. And that clarity can be exactly what is needed to succeed in your next attempt.

Taking action is much better than doing nothing

Few things are more distressing than feeling like your relationship is broken and there is no way to fix it. Taking action, even if it is unsuccessful at first, can help you feel empowered and give you the confidence needed to ultimately achieve your goals.

Failure and success almost always go hand-in-hand

If you learn about people who are successful in any area of endeavor — business, sports, relationships, etc. — you’ll find that the percentage of people who “nailed it” on their first attempt is quite low. The vast majority of successes come after at least one failure, and often many failures. The key to success is persistence.

Struggling tends to generate support

We all want our friends and family to achieve their objectives. When we see them making a good effort but still struggling, our natural reaction is to lend a hand. This support can be crucial in helping a couple succeed in marriage counseling.

Your struggles don’t define you

We should learn from our setbacks that who we are and what we’ve accomplished are two very different things. That realization can create a mature confidence that affects all areas of our lives.

Helping couples make it through the tough times

No one who has ever been married would describe it as easy! However, a willingness to ignore the fear of failure and commit to marriage counseling can help you overcome tough times and move ahead to a bright future. If you have questions about our services, please contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the northside Denver metro area including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

How to Survive the Loss of a Loved One while Already Stressed Out

For those who are learning to cope with a mental illness and feeling stressed out, loving relationships play a key role in their path to their recovery. If a loved one passes away during that process, it can feel like a devastating setback. However, there are things you can do to support your grieving process and maintain your strides towards recovery.

Strategies for Dealing with the Death of Someone Close to You
While everyone’s journey through grief is unique, in general it tends to be like floating down a stream that passes five distinct milestones. First is denial, where we refuse to accept what has happened. Then comes anger that is often expressed as “Why me?” Next is bargaining, where we are consumed with the idea that we’d do anything to have the person back. Then we move into depression, where we experience intense despair. Finally, we reach acceptance.

It’s important to progress through these stages, especially since intense grief can have an almost paralyzing effect. You have to fight the urge to do nothing by continuing your momentum toward healing. Here are some positive steps you can take that honor the memory of your loved one and help you get well at the same time:

  • Get or continue counseling. If you are not yet working with a counselor to address your mental illness, now is an ideal time to get connected. If you have been in counseling, you should continue with it even if your grief makes it harder to leave the house to attend sessions. Your loved one would surely want you to stay on the path to recovery.
  • Reach out to others. Trauma like the loss of a loved one can make us feel like retreating and cutting ties with family and friends. However, it’s important that you do the exact opposite. While it may be difficult to face people when you are in mourning, sharing your grief can be very cathartic and healing. Even just sitting quietly with someone as you both process what has happened can be comforting.
  • When you reach a point where you are a little less stressed out and have the energy to engage with others, consider volunteering. The death of a loved one can leave us feeling powerless. Helping others reminds you that you have the power to make a positive difference in the world.
  • Actively look for ways to be happy. Take some time to do things you enjoy, even if at first it feels like you are just “going through the motions.”

You Can Make it Through This
Drawing on your natural strengths and with the right support,  you can survive this tragedy and continue your path toward better mental health and greater happiness. And we can help. Contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the northside Denver metro area including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

Managing Anxiety and Depression: The Power of the First Step

People who struggle with mental health challenges like anxiety and depression often feel trapped by their condition. They know they should take action to address it, but symptoms like a lack of energy or fear of the future may make it difficult to seek help. One way to break free is to take one small step forward. This can create momentum toward taking additional steps and ultimately lead to fully embracing treatment and recovery.

Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

Taking even a small step toward achieving better mental health tends to create a positive, hopeful feeling in the person fighting the illness. It also signals to those around them that they are ready to make a change, which can lead to encouragement and offers of support that make it easier to take the next step. While the process of seeking help for conditions such as anxiety and depression is different for everyone, here are some actions to consider:

  • Lower your defenses. If you have been reluctant to talk about how you’re feeling when approached by loved ones, try listening to what they have to say rather than avoiding the conversation. Saying “Yes, that’s something I should think about” can be a great first step.
  • Start or resume a prayer or meditation practice. Any self-care activity that helps calm your mind so you can think more clearly is a good thing. Over time, it can give you the mental clarity you need to make a plan for addressing your condition.
  • Approach one person. If family and friends are no longer trying to initiate conversations with you about your illness, try opening the door to discussion with just one person. A statement like “I think I have a problem and may need to talk with a counselor” tends to be all it takes to get the eager assistance of a loved one in finding help.
  • Take action to improve your physical health. Recovering from mental illness is a process that requires a significant amount of energy. Eating healthful, nutritious foods, getting adequate sleep and exercising regularly can help give you the strength you need to pursue treatment.
  • Assess where you are and where you want to be. When struggling with anxiety or depression, you may seek to cope simply by not thinking about your situation. While it may be uncomfortable to do so, taking the time to look at what your life is like today and envision how you want it to be in the future can be an excellent first step.

Start Making Progress toward Better Mental Health

 Mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are treatable conditions. The key to addressing them is creating some forward momentum. We’re here to help. Contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the northside Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

8 Ways You Can Raise Community Awareness during Mental Health Month

One of the reasons that May is recognized as Mental Health Month is that despite continuous advances in research, treatment and awareness efforts, there is still much work to be done. Many people aren’t exposed to mental health issues until they are directly impacted by a tragedy such as suicide. Mental Health Month is an effort to promote a more positive, proactive approach to addressing mental illnesses.

Getting the Word Out

In the same way we educate communities about physical health concerns such as heart disease, it’s critical that we start conversations about what mental illness is, how to recognize it and the fact that it is a treatable illness. Here are some simple steps you can take to help raise the collective consciousness about mental health where you live:

  1. Talk with everyone you know. Ask family, friends and coworkers how they’re doing and really listen to the answers. If they give any indication that they are depressed or stressed out, let them know that there are resources available to help them. - If you sense that they might be considering self-harm or suicide, encourage them to seek help immediately and assist them as appropriate.
  2. Open up about your experience. If you’ve struggled or are struggling with mental illness, share your story. Hearing another person is going through the same thing you are can be a relief. And, it can be the nudge a person needs to get help and look into treatment.
  3. Encourage kind language. When you hear people around you talk about mental illness in disparaging terms, politely ask them to consider the impact of their words. Any language that reinforces the stigma of mental illness is harmful and might keep someone from getting help. Further explore the importance of person-centered language, which respects the consumer by separating the symptoms from the person with thoughtful language.
  4. Educate yourself about mental illness. It’s not uncommon for people to misunderstand mental illness. Learn more about it and share what you learn. This includes talking with children about mental health in age-appropriate terms. Children are not immune to mental illness and can experience conditions like depression and anxiety as early as elementary school.
  5. Coordinate a mental health screening event. Promoting an event or asking that mental health screening be part of a community health fair can encourage people to take action regarding their mental health. You can learn more about screening at websites like www.mentalhealthscreening.org and www.helpyourselfhelpothers.org.
  6. Volunteer. Mental health organizations like Community Reach Center frequently need help with specific initiatives and ongoing efforts. Your phone call or email will be greeted with heartfelt appreciation.
  7. Leverage social media. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be great forums for inspiring people to be open-minded and inquisitive when it comes to mental illness.
  8. Encourage physical health that supports mental health. Help people understand that physical health can have a direct impact on mental health. Eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise and sleep all play a part in a person’s mental and emotional state.

The Power of One

Mental Health Month is the perfect time to start conversations in your community about mental health illnesses such as depression, anxiety and suicide. And if you’re wondering whether one person’s efforts can make a difference, the answer is “Absolutely!” Every conversation you have about the importance of recognizing and treating mental illness creates a ripple that reaches people in your circle and far beyond it.

If you or someone you know needs help with any mental or emotional issues, contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the Northern Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

May is Mental Health Month: 6 Interesting Mental Health Stats

In the U.S., May is Mental Health Month. It’s a time when we focus on mental health issues like depression, anxiety and others with the goal of helping people better understand what mental illness is and how to address it in ways that produce the most positive outcomes.

A good first step in determining how to manage any condition — mental, emotional or physical — is to get a sense of the scope of the problem. Once you have an understanding of the big picture, you can decide how to tackle specific issues.     

Mental Health by the Numbers

Here are some statistics gathered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness from multiple sources that make it clear that nearly all Americans will be touched by mental illness in some way in their lifetime — either their own condition or that of a friend or loved one:

  1. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in America experiences a mental illness.
  2. Nearly 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in America lives with a serious mental illness.
  3. Approximately 50 percent of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; 75 percent by the age of 24.
  4. Nearly 25 percent of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition.”
  5. Approximately 26 percent of homeless adults staying in shelters live with a serious mental illness.
  6. Approximately 90 percent of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

When you look at the numbers, there is no question that by increasing awareness of mental health issues like anxiety, depression and others (during Mental Health Month and all year long), and by finding ways to get more people the help they need, we can make the world a happier, healthier and safer place for everyone.

Take Control of Your Mental Health

While mental health professionals play a critical role in helping people who are struggling with a mental illness, it’s important to keep in mind that you do, too. As you come to believe that you may have a mental health condition that requires treatment, here are some things you can do to take charge of your situation:

  • Ask your doctor to help you find a specialist or call a mental health center to ask about their services. If you feel your need for help is urgent, be sure to mention that.
  • Make an appointment to talk with a mental health specialist.
  • Get the most out of your appointment by being ready to talk openly about your symptoms and your goals in seeking treatment.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions about things like what your symptoms mean, how often you and the care provider should meet, how long it will take you to feel better and what you should do between appointments. When a treatment plan is developed, be sure you understand it.
  • Remember that treatment takes time, and stick with your therapy, medication, etc.
  • Speak up if your treatment plan doesn’t seem to be working for you.
  • Keep a wellness log that details your progress.
  • Call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 anytime you feel like you’re heading into the crisis zone. Caring therapists and peer specialists are on hand 24/7/365 to help you.

The Outlook is Bright

Both for individuals facing mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and others, and for our country in general, the outlook on mental illness is bright. Thanks to observances like Mental Health Month, we’ve made great strides in eliminating the stigma of mental illness and encouraging people to get help. But the statistics on mental illness remind us that there’s still much work to be done!

If you or someone you know needs help with any mental or emotional issues you are facing, contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the Northside Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is May 3-9

Each year, May is a time when there is a special focus on mental health and mental illness. The entire month is recognized as Mental Health Month, an observance created in 1949 by an organization originally called the National Association for Mental Health and now known as Mental Health America. Its purpose is to draw attention to mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, among others.

Additionally, May 3-9 is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Headed by the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, it shines a spotlight on children’s mental health issues.

Say It Out Loud: There Is No Shame in Mental Illness

One of the leading voices in this area is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It promotes a program called Say It Out Loud: Speaking with Teens about Mental Health. According to NAMI, one in five teens has a mental health condition but less than half of them are not getting the help they need.

Although more people than ever are aware that mental illness is a treatable disease faced by millions around the world, there is still a stigma associated with it. This is especially true among teens, given all the pressure they feel to “fit in” and be “normal.” To reduce, or ideally eliminate, that stigma, people need to continue to share accurate information about mental illness and engage others in meaningful conversations.

The Say it Out Loud program includes an online toolkit that adults can use to open conversations about mental health and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression that affect so many young people. The kit includes:

  • A short film featuring three teen's experiences
  • A discussion guide
  • A narrated presentation for the facilitator
  • Fact sheets and information about connecting with your local NAMI affiliate

NAMI encourages you to make as many copies of the toolkit as you need and distribute them throughout your community. 

Gain Proactive Awareness through CRC

Community Reach Center offers Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid courses. The health literacy courses are much like a traditional Red Cross First Aid course and have been gaining momentum over the past decade. The idea is to teach individuals how to take a proactive approach by looking for early signs that may indicate mental health problems and also how to successfully intervene with someone in crisis. 

Consider joining us for a day of learning. See information about our classes on our website at Youth Mental Health First Aid or Mental Health First Aid.

Other Ways to Promote Mental Health Awareness

There are so many ways you can contribute to the efforts to raise awareness about the mental health issues faced by young people — during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, Mental Health Month and year ‘round! In addition to using and sharing the Say it Out Loud toolkit, you can:

  • Encourage your mayor, governor or other officials to make a proclamation recognizing one of the many mental health awareness events throughout the year
  • Hand out green mental health awareness ribbons
  • Host an event to provide information and resources at a local venue
  • Volunteer for your local mental health center or an NAMI affiliate

Spread the Word: There is Hope for People Striving for Better Mental Health!

We’re here for you if you have questions about Mental Health Month or Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, or if you need help with anxiety, depression, or any mental or emotional issues you are facing. Contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the northern Denver metro area, including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.