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Tools and Tips for Amplifying Strong Memorial Day Mental Health


Tools and Tips for Amplifying Strong Memorial Day Mental Health

  • Mental Health

Most of us know that Memorial Day is a national holiday where we honor the brave men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military to protect our freedom. But truth be told unless you have served or know someone in the military, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the meaning of the holiday. Instead, Memorial Day weekend can often feel like just another long weekend where we step away from the everyday stresses of life and relax with friends and family. This break can be great for our mental health!

But perhaps this year, we can feel more connected to the holiday by holding space for the mental health struggles so many veterans carry with them every day. And with more and more Americans outside of the military battling mental health disorders since the COVID-19 outbreak, there can be a sense of commonality between all of us, whether we have served in the military or not. As more of us seek treatment for our mental health, we can bridge the divisions of stigma associated with mental health, and instead can collectively prioritize our wellbeing.

Veterans and Mental Health

According to one of the most extensive studies on Mental Health risks among the U.S. military, the rate of major depression among soldiers was five times as high as among civilians, and the rate of PTSD was 15 times higher. And nearly 20% of service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq reported experiencing a traumatic brain injury, according to a study from the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research.

When left untreated, these mental health struggles can have highly adverse effects on veterans and their families. Studies show that battling depression, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury can exhibit higher rates of unhealthy behaviors and higher rates of suicide. One recent study revealed that more than 30,000 active duty and veterans of post-9/11 wars have died by suicide over the last 20 years.

The mental health struggles that those on active duty and veterans face during and after their service can feel insurmountable. Therefore, it is paramount that they have access to treatment.

Civilians and Mental Health

While mental health has become an increasingly important topic in the last decade, COVID-19 exacerbated mental health matters for many Americans. For example, during the first nine months of the pandemic, Americans reported rates of depression and anxiety six times higher than in 2019, according to research conducted at Boston College.

Among U.S. adults ages 18-29, rates of anxiety and depression increased to 65% and 61%, respectively. The study suggests that easy and affordable access to mental health treatment is necessary in today’s rapidly changing world.

Whether you or someone you know is in the military or a civilian, Advanced Behavioral Health offers a wide range of services for those who are struggling. Therapy services include:

  • Animal Assisted Play Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
  • Individual/Group Therapy
  • Medication Management
  • Psychiatric Treatment
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If you or someone you know could benefit from seeking treatment, take our short survey to help you decide which treatment could be most beneficial. You can also call 301-345-1022 to speak to one of our representatives or email us. You are not alone in your mental health journey; Advanced Behavioral Health is here to help.

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.