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Mental Health Awareness Month 2021 - #MHAM2021

We are mostly virtual again this year with opportunities to hear some great speakers, great resources available, and opportunities to participate in the counties. 

PA Care Partnership Webinar Speaker Series 2020/2021: May is Mental Health Awareness Month 2021

County Systems of Care Events

Blair County is having a Mental Health Awareness Night at the Altoona Curve on  May 26th at 6 pm.   During the event/game, we will be lighting it up green for mental health awareness through various activities and giveaways.  We’ll have a two-minute video shown pre-game with various speakers promoting mental health and there will be vendor tables in the concourse with various resources and giveaways.  Attached is the event flyer. 

Carbon, Monroe, and Pike Counties will be having month-long contests, billboard displays, social media, and Stop the Stigma Rubber Duck as it travels around our counties sharing the importance of talking about how we think and feel.

Crawford County is having two ongoing events in May.  In partnership with CHAPS (Crawford County Mental Health Awareness Program), we will have 20, 30-second mental health awareness radio PSAs a week for four weeks.  The spots will be aired on a variety of stations that cover the county and northwest Pennsylvania. We are also collaborating with the Crawford County Suicide Task Force and our county school districts to sponsor a high school video and audio PSA competition for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. 

Greene County is having its Annual Greene County Children's Mental Health Awareness Picnic at the Lions Club Park in Waynes Burg on Thursday, May 6th.

Venango County - From May 9 to May 15, Venango County will be observing Mental Health Awareness Month locally with “Community Involvement and Awareness Week.”

York County York County System of Care, in partnership with York County Human Services and PA Care Partnership, is promoting several initiatives to raise awareness about mental health and wellness. Free trainings with messages geared toward parents/caregivers, youth, providers, educators, and community members include 

  • Kara Vojcsik, Parenting In a Pandemic, May 27, 2021, 7 pm, register;  
  • Matthew Wintersteen, Parent Network Series - Suicide Prevention, May 24, 2021, 12:00 PM register; and,
  • Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, The Impact of Mental Health for Communities of Color, May 18, 2021, 6 pm, register.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Colleen Igo from York County System of Care at cigo@YorkCountyPa.gov

Youth MOVE PA Event - Thrive for Hope

Thrive for Hope is a youth and young adult support group and a peer-led emotional support group for youth and young adults between the ages of 16 - 29. 
This group is not for doctors, therapists, or other medical professionals and no one gives medical advice during group. Our purpose is to support one another through our lived experience, strength, and hope.
The Zoom meeting will open at 3:45, and the meeting begins at 4:00. We encourage that you come early and socialize, hang out, and get to know one another.
We hope to see you there. Join the event: Zoom link for the group. Registration is not required.

Why Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us.

Mindful living can help us to find more happiness, joy, and meaning in our life. 

What are the benefits of Mindfulness and Mindful Meditation?

Mindfulness has been studied in many clinical trials over the years, including Moore and Malinowski, 2009. The overall evidence supports the effectiveness of mindfulness, including:

  • Stress reduction. Many studies show that practicing mindfulness reduces stress. Those findings are consistent with evidence that mindfulness meditation increases positive affect and decreases anxiety and negative affect.
  • Boosts working memory. Researchers found that working memory capacity increased with meditation practice. Meditation practice was directly related to self-reported positive affect.
  • Focus. Mindfulness meditation affected participants' ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information. Mindfulness meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness were correlated directly with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning (Moore and Malinowski, 2009).
  • Less emotional reactivity. Mindfulness meditation practice helps people disengage emotionally and focus better on a cognitive task than others who were not using mindfulness. 
  • More cognitive flexibility.  Mindfulness can help with self-observation and enables present-moment input into the brain in a new way.
  • Relationship satisfaction.  Being mindful can help predict relationship satisfaction — the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one's emotions to a partner.
  • Other benefits. Mindfulness has been shown to enhance self-insight, morality, intuition, and fear modulation.

What are some quick and easy mindfulness exercises?

Here are a few easy ways to practice mindfulness:

  • Pay attention. Take the time to experience your environment with all of your senses — touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste. For example, when you eat a favorite food, take the time to smell, taste, and truly enjoy it.
  • Live in the moment. Find joy in simple pleasures, bring an open, accepting, and discerning attention to everything you do.
  • Accept yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
  • Focus on your breathing. Sitting and breathing for even just a minute can help. When you have negative or disruptive thoughts, sit down, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body.

Also, check out this article for recommendations on mindfulness apps: Free Mindfulness Apps Worthy of Your Attention.