Today I attended a Mental Health and Awareness Workshop hosted by the Independent Living Resource Center and presented by Katrina Robinson-Wheeler. Those who attended the workshop were Emily Bell, Tara Rowe, Tyler Charles, and Benjamin Collazo, all of which are associated with Thrive.

At the Mental Health and Awareness Workshop posted by the ILRC, the two main topics Katrina Robinson-Wheeler talked about were how to achieve wellness not just during the holidays, but also throughout the year, and she also talked about the signs of mental illness. During the first part of the presentation, she talked about the eight dimensions that make up wellness. These dimensions are, Social, Occupational, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Financial, Environmental, and Spiritual. The social dimension talked about how people should either join a club, social group, volunteer group, or support group. The occupational dimension talked about how we as individuals should explore career or volunteer opportunities, and also find hobbies that interest us. The Intellectual dimension explained that we should find skill training in the area, we should find books or book series that interest us, and we should find public events in the area, whether it’s free or cost money, that help boost creativity and knowledge. The environmental dimension includes the appreciation of nature and to seek out experiences that have a calming effect on us, such as meditation or mindfulness. The spiritual dimension is the concept of discovering values and beliefs, finding a community that has the same outlook as you, keeping a gratitude journal, and helping those who need help or are in need of help. All of these dimensions are interconnected and help people create wellness within their lives.

The second part of the workshop talks about how to recognize mental health disorders. Mental health disorders affect a person’s thinking, emotional state, and behavior. It disrupts daily life, such as going to school, seeing family and friends, and daily functioning skills. Mental health disorders can be more disabling than many chronic physical illnesses. The workshop discussed a specific action plan to help those in a crisis. The acronym for this is ALGEE. A stands for assessing the risk of suicide or harm. L stands for listening nonjudgmentally. G stands for giving reassurance and information. E stands for encouraging appropriate professional help, and the last E stands for encouraging self-help and other supportive strategies. Sometimes you may have to implement all 5 strategies, but other times you may only have to implement 1 strategy. The speaker touched on the physical, behavioral, and psychological characteristics of anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Finally she also talked about substance use and the ways in which it affects people who abuse drugs.

To sum up the workshop, I learned how to pursue wellness, the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses, and how to help people if they are in a crisis situation.

Hoping these strategies will help you during the holiday season.

Best Wishes,