November is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Town of Smithtown is seizing it as an opportunity to implement a social media campaign that highlights simple activities that help boost personal resilience. From Nov. 18 to 22, the Town’s Horizons Counseling & Education Center, the Youth Bureau and the Response Crisis Center will share advice, tips and resources to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #ResilientInSmithtown.
This campaign is designed to educate residents about four kinds of personal attributes that boost mental well-being: physical, mental, emotional and social. Strengthening these attributes contributes to living longer, happier lives, with a heightened ability to cope with life’s stressors.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for residents to learn how they can have more control over their own personal resiliencies and be able to guide and support family members and friends,” said Stacey Standers, Town of Smithtown Youth Bureau executive director.
Residents of all ages are encouraged to participate in the educational campaign, which relies upon easy and fun exercises that will help Smithtown residents build upon their own personal strengths.
Approximately one out of every five children in America has a diagnosable mental health disorder. Anxiety, depression and substance abuse are major issues impacting young people and their families, as well as schools and communities. Community education about the importance of bolstering one’s own personal resilience is beneficial at any age, town officials explain, and can be a vital component in maintaining mental health.
“There is a very clear and distinct correlation between childhood trauma and mental health issues and substance addiction,” said Matthew Neebe, director of Horizons Counseling & Education Center. “Problematic mental health issues experienced in childhood can very easily and often do follow individuals into maturity, creating a variety of long-term mental health issues that may cause self-medication through excessive drinking or substance abuse.”
The campaign promotes scientifically validated activities that contribute to personal well-being.
Physical resilience means the body can withstand more physical stress and heal itself faster. Mental resilience includes strengthening mental focus, discipline and will power, which is like a muscle that gets stronger the more it is exercised. Emotional resilience provokes powerful, positive emotions like curiosity or love, precisely when it’s needed the most. Social resilience strengthens from bonds with friends, family, neighbors and community.
Some of the recent posts include the following advice:
- If you cannot change the situation, change your mind.
- Once a situation is accepted for what it is, begin working on uncommon or creative solutions.
- Humor can boost one’s mood, alleviate emotional distress and even buffer against depression. Laughter and humor improve immune response, enhance perceptual flexibility and offset the effects of stress.
- Positive reframing allows you to take control of your response to a situation by reframing it into a potential growth experience.
- The first step of a good plan is to define what success looks like.
The postings are part of an ongoing campaign and represent one part of this initiative.
Look for Smithtown Youth Bureau on Facebook to find the different exercises and more information about #ResilientInSmithtown.