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.

Lend a Helping Hand: National Volunteer Week

There’s no question that by volunteering you are helping the organization or individual that is the recipient of your efforts. What many people don’t know is that serving others actually provides tremendous mental, emotional and physical benefits, as well. Volunteering may not be the first thing on your mind when you are stressed out or battling depression, but it can do you a world of good.

 April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week

 National Volunteer Week is a celebration coordinated by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The event encourages us all to recognize and thank volunteers who share their talent and their time in support of good causes. The theme for National Volunteer Week is “Service Unites,” which is a great statement about the power of volunteering.

National Volunteer Week was first conceived in 1943 as a way to recognize the service of volunteers during World War II. The celebration declined a bit after the war but was brought back to prominence when it was officially established by a Presidential Proclamation in 1974, and it has grown rapidly ever since.

Health Benefits of Volunteering

Interested in an activity that will help you feel less stressed out and help you manage the symptoms of depression? Volunteering is the ticket! Some of the many benefits of volunteering include:

  • Stress reduction. Connecting with other people and learning about the challenges they face is a fantastic stress-buster. Seeing that “we’re all in this together” and knowing that you are doing something to help another person can help you feel more supported and decrease your anxiety.
  • Mood elevation. Developing a positive relationship with someone in need is a great way to be more connected, and performing a service that improves their situation can leave you feeling empowered, which helps combat the symptoms of depression.
  • Improved physical health. Being a volunteer has many positive benefits for your body. The sense of accomplishment and joy you feel can work to lower your blood pressure and decrease the stress hormones in your system. And the physical activity associated with volunteering is a great improvement over staying home and being sedentary.
  • Enhanced mental sharpness. From learning about the organization you are volunteering for to remembering the names of the people you interact with to developing new skills, being a volunteer helps keep your mind engaged and your thinking clear.
  • Increased confidence. Knowing that someone is better off thanks to your efforts can make you feel good about your ability to take on a new challenge and succeed.

Encouraging You to Get Involved!

Volunteering is the definition of a “win-win.” The recipient gets the help they need and you get better mental, emotional and physical health. So whether you are looking for an additional strategy for managing your depression or you want to get involved in an activity that makes you feel less stressed out, we encourage you to consider being a volunteer. In fact, we sometimes have volunteer positions open here!

To talk with us about volunteering or about any mental or emotional issues you are facing, contact Community Reach Center online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500, Monday through Friday from 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.

April 23-29 is Sleep Awareness Week

The National Sleep Foundation has announced April 23-29 as its annual Sleep Awareness Week. The focus of the event is on understanding the important role sleep plays in our physical, mental and emotional health and learning how to ensure we get enough sleep. Insomnia, or the inability to sleep, can be caused by several different factors, such as anxiety, and Community Reach Center knows that falling and staying asleep isn’t always as easy as we’d like it to be.

Why Do We Sleep?

When considering the state we call “sleep,” the first question might be “Why do we do it? Why is there such a thing as sleep?” Interestingly, while research has taught us a lot about the benefits of sleep, experts still can’t always agree on why the state exists. There are several possible reasons, including:

  • Inactivity theory. Maintaining a “low profile” at night is an adaptive behavior that keeps us safe from predators.
  • Energy conservation theory. We partake in some downtime to conserve energy for when it’s most needed — during the day.
  • Restorative theory. Sleep helps our body repair damage done to it throughout the day.
  • Brain plasticity theory. Sleeps gives our brains time to reshape in response to the stimuli we’ve encountered during our waking hours.

Health Benefits of Sleep

Combatting insomnia and getting plenty of deep, uninterrupted sleep provides a whole host of health benefits, including many that you might not have been aware of. They include:

  • Reduced inflammation. Getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep helps decrease the level of inflammatory proteins in the blood.
  • Better weight maintenance. Sleep and body metabolism are controlled by the same area of the brain. When you are feeling sleepy during the day, hormones are put into your bloodstream that increase appetite.
  • Better mood. Insomnia can contribute to depression and anxiety. And unfortunately, trying to “catch up” on sleep after days of being deficient doesn’t really work.
  • Improved memory. While you sleep, your brain is busy making sense of everything you’ve learned during the day.
  • Longer life. There are studies that seem to indicate that getting the right amount of sleep (not too little, not too much) can actually help you live longer.

When it comes to “activities” that can improve your health, the inactivity of sleep is at the top of the list!

Stress and Sleep

Stress and anxiety are some of the most common causes of difficulty falling or staying asleep. Here are some of the tips we share at Community Reach Center for decreasing your stress level so you can get better, more restorative sleep:

  • Get healthy. When your body is functioning optimally, your mind is better able to resist stress.
  • Live in the moment. It can be hard to focus on what you’re doing right now rather than the challenges life is throwing at you. But the more you work at it, the better you’ll get.
  • Give yourself a pep talk. You can be your own best cheerleader. Practice encouraging yourself at every opportunity.
  • Learning to still your thoughts and calm your mind is one of the best ways to reduce your stress and battle insomnia.

Wishing You Deep and Restful Sleep

At Community Reach Center, we have programs for dealing with stress and anxiety disorders that can cause sleeplessness and insomnia. To learn more, contact Community Reach Center 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.

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is Observed in April

While sexual assault can be a difficult subject for victims, their families and the community in general to discuss, it is critical that we recognize and address what is a shockingly prevalent crime in our country and around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in five women in the U.S. is raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime.1 At our Denver mental health center, we provide assistance and support to survivors of sexual assault.

First observed in 2001 and building on sexual violence awareness efforts that began in the late 1970s in England, April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Events throughout the month seek to raise awareness of what sexual assault is, its prevalence and what can be done to prevent it.

Sexual Assault and Mental Health

Few crimes have greater potential to lead to long-term mental and emotional health issues than sexual assault. Survivors may deal with a whole host of thoughts and emotions that can plague them for an extended period, often for life. These include:

  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Confusion
  • Distrust

In many cases, sexual assault can lead to clinical conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders. For example, girls who are raped are approximately three times more likely to suffer from psychological disorders and over four times more likely to suffer from drug and alcohol abuse in adulthood.2  As many as 50-75 percent of women in substance abuse treatment programs are survivors of sexual violence.3

The process of healing from an assault and addressing these conditions is a difficult one, but with the love and support of family members, and the assistance of trained and compassionate mental health counselors like those at our Denver mental health center, it can be successful.

Sexual Assault Survivors: Much Stronger than They Know

While loved ones and mental health professionals can provide much-needed assistance to a victim of sexual assault, a survivor’s own inner strength is the most powerful healing force. Many aren’t even aware they have this strength, but they often discover and begin drawing on it to drive their recovery.

If you have been sexually assaulted, here are some things you can do to help yourself heal:

  • Never lose sight of the fact that only your attacker alone is to blame for the assault.
  • Continually remind yourself that any negative feelings you have about yourself are the result of the trauma you’ve suffered. They are not reality.
  • Be persistent in countering feelings of helplessness and isolation with the knowledge that you have the power to move on and resources available to help you.
  • Develop healthy strategies for dealing with flashbacks and distressing memories.
  • Take time to reconnect to your body and your feelings.
  • Focus on healthy eating and exercise, which will help heal your nervous system.
  • Never hesitate to ask for support when you need it.

Here to Provide Help and Support to Sexual Assault Survivors

At our Denver mental health center, we encourage sexual assault survivors to get the support they need to restore their mental and emotional health by contacting Community Reach Center online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500, Monday through Friday from 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.

  1. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/sv-datasheet-a.pdf
  2. Kendler, Kenneth S., et al. Archives of General Psychiatry. Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University, 2000.
  3. S. Public Health Service Office on Women’s Health.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol and drug use by young people in the U.S. and around the world is a serious problem. Not only is it dangerous, it puts those around them at risk. At Community Reach Center, we remind people that substance abuse can result in a wide variety of negative consequences, including:

  • Traffic accidents that cause property damage, injuries and fatalities
  • Violent behavior
  • Alcohol overdose
  • Work and school struggles
  • Relationship issues
  • Unsafe sexual behavior
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Dangerous risk taking

The physical, mental, emotional and financial toll of these consequences can be devastating.

About Alcohol Awareness Month

In 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) first sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month. Every year since then, the organization has dedicated April to increasing public awareness of alcohol-related issues and reducing the stigma associated with seeking help for alcoholism. The Council encourages individuals and communities to devote time, effort and resources to looking for answers to these challenging problems.

This year’s theme is “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery.” Local, state and national events and activities will be held to educate people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism. In particular, the issue of alcohol use among young people will be in the spotlight. Parents will be encouraged to recognize the powerful impact their influence can have on whether their children choose to use alcohol.


Talking with Young People about Alcohol

Parents with teens face a difficult challenge when it comes alcohol abuse. Adolescents are under a great deal of social pressure to experiment with alcohol and drugs. They are also in a stage of life characterized by increased risk taking and desire to “figure things out for themselves.” However, they are still listening. Children who learn from their parents about the many negative consequences of alcohol and drug abuse are much less likely to use these substances.

What we tell people at our community mental health center is that the hardest part about talking with children is simply starting the conversation. After a few awkward moments, it can quickly turn into a very open and informative interaction that leaves both parent and child feeling glad they had the discussion.

Alcohol-Free Weekend

Alcohol Awareness Month is kicked off the weekend leading into April with Alcohol-Free Weekend. That event is designed to draw attention to the issues around alcohol abuse and how it can have a negative impact on individuals, families and communities. NCADD encourages people to spend 72 hours alcohol free and to contact local NCADD affiliates to learn more about alcoholism, especially its early symptoms.

Helping Individuals and Families Fight Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

At our community mental health center, we have programs and information that help young people and their families — or anyone affected by alcohol abuse or addiction — better understand these conditions and take steps to break free from them.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, contact Community Reach Center 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 north side Denver metro area of Adams County, including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

Self-Injury Awareness Month: Learn the Signs and How to Help

Community Mental Health CenterSelf-injury, sometimes referred to as self-harm, is intentional, non-lethal behavior that causes physical injury to your body. March 1 of each year is Self-Injury Awareness Day, which leads into Self-Injury Awareness Month. The day and month serve to draw attention to the struggles of those affected by this condition. We, Community Reach Center, your Denver mental health center, wanted to bring some educational information on Self-Injury.

What Drives a Person to Self-Injure?

Self-harm is an attempt to relieve intense emotional pain that has become overwhelming. While the action may distract the sufferer from that pain briefly, it doesn't actually resolve the emotions or address their underlying causes. As we explain at our community mental health center, it is an unhealthy coping mechanism that may calm a people by giving them a sense of control and the ability to see a connection between the physical pain and what is causing it, as opposed to emotional pain, which can be harder to pinpoint.

The most common forms of self-injury include:

  • Cutting
  • Burning or branding
  • Bone-breaking
  • Excessive body piercing or tattooing
  • Picking at skin or preventing wound healing
  • Head-banging
  • Beating/bruising
  • Hair-pulling
  • Consuming dangerous substances

Self-injury is a behavior that is not limited to any particular demographic — age, race, socioeconomic level, religion or education level. However, according to WebMD1, it is more common among:

  • Adolescent females
  • People who have a history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • People who have co-existing problems of substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder or eating disorders
  • Individuals who were often raised in families that discouraged expression of anger
  • Individuals who lack skills to express their emotions and lack a good social support network

Self-harm tends to be a solitary behavior and one that sufferers generally attempt to conceal. While it is not suicidal in nature, the risk of suicide exists if the underlying emotional stress becomes too great or if an attempt to self-injure goes too far.

Identifying Self-Harm and How to Talk to Someone Who is Self-Injuring

If you 1) see a friend or loved one self-injuring, 2) notice signs of unexplained injury, or 3) detect attempts to hide injuries, the most important thing to know is that self-injury isn’t a “phase” or an “attention-seeking” behavior. It is a symptom of an emotional problem that must be treated.

If you suspect a loved one is self-harming, you should:

  • Talk with them about it as calmly as possible. Appearing alarmed or angry may cause them to withdraw.
  • Be nonjudgmental and supportive.
  • Be available to discuss the problem or problems that are causing the emotional pain that leads to self-injury if/when they are ready to talk about it.
  • Explain that there are treatments available at your community mental health center. Offer to help with making an appointment and attending with them if appropriate.
  • If the person’s behavior worsens and you believe they are contemplating suicide, seek emergency medical attention/intervention immediately.

Getting to the Heart of Self-Injury

At the Community Reach Center, your Denver mental health center, we help people who are self-injuring understand and address the issues that are causing them emotional pain and leading to the behavior. If you or someone you know needs to talk with someone about self-harm, contact the Community Reach Center 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.

1 - Source: http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/self-injuring-hurting

A 5-Point Plan for Facing Your Fears

Anxiety in a group of people

At the Community Reach Center, your Denver mental health center, we help clients treat anxiety in many ways, including counseling and medication. There are also steps you can take on your own to lessen the impact that anxiety has on your life — things like breath control and muscle relaxation. One of the most effective practices is learning to face your fears, however, it is also one of the most challenging. When you gradually confront the source of your anxiety (a process referred to as “exposure”) following a well-defined plan, you will be happy to discover that anxiety begins to have less power over you.

Experimenting with Exposure

If you have anxiety, you may have a long history of feelings of dread toward certain people, places, situations or objects.  The effects often deepen over a long period of time and repeated interactions. Consequently, it will take time and repeated exposure to reverse the effects.

Here are five steps you can take to gradually decrease the stress that your triggers create in you:

  • List the things that make you anxious. As you do, be sure to include all aspects of that fea For example, if crossing bridges gives you anxiety, you might have things on your list like “looking at pictures of bridges,” “looking at a bridge from a distance,” “walking past (but not on) a bridge,” “standing briefly on a bridge” and “walking or driving across a bridge.” Similarly if interacting with people makes you nervous, you might jot down “making eye contact,” “saying hello,” “speaking with someone for more than a few seconds,” “having a long conversation” and “shaking hands or hugging.”
  • Prioritize your list. For each type of anxiety-inducing scenario, order the list from most upsetting to least.
  • Intentionally put yourself into a challenging situation. Begin exposing yourself to the least upsetting stimuli on your list, repeating the exposure until the person/place/object no longer creates much of a reaction and you feel you can cross it off. Then move to the next stimuli and perform the process again, working your way down the list. It helps to make notes about your progress.
  • Repeat. Even after you’ve succeeded in crossing all the stimuli of a certain type off your list (everything related to bridges, for example), it’s important that you keep exposing yourself to them so that the anxiety doesn’t return.
  • Reward yourself. Facing deep-seated fears takes courage and commitment. As you make progress and hit milestones, give yourself a pat on the back. Buy yourself a gift (a book, some clothes, whatever you enjoy) or plan a special activity (hiking your favorite trail, trying that new restaurant) to celebrate your accomplishments. 

Helping You Eliminate Anxiety by Facing Your Fears

At Community Reach Center, your Denver mental health center, we provide services that help people who are struggling with anxiety take steps to reduce or even eliminate it. If you would like to talk with someone about your anxiety challenges or make an appointment, contact the Community Reach Center 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.

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