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Mental Health Awareness

Joy Koeppen, LCSW, CBIS
Counseling Manager at Brain Injury Services

The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed Wednesday, October 10th, as World Mental Health Day to “raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.” 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being.  It impacts how we think, feel, and act and impacts how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.  In other words, it affects EVERYTHING! 

Just like physical health, our mental health and well-being are essential.  Like physical health, our choices may impact how healthy we are.  But also, like physical health, changes in our mental health may sometimes happen despite the choices we make. They may be impacted by the choices others make, nature, genetic predisposition, and other factors. 

At some point in each of our lives, we are likely to have changes in our mental health and well-being as a normal part of life.  Changes in one’s ability to manage emotions may happen due to various factors, including unexpected stress, hormonal changes, or normal transitions such as a new job, moving, or getting married.

However, for some of us, there may be experiences that aren’t considered a normal part of life that change our mental health, whether temporarily or for the long haul. When this happens, it can feel like what used to be an effective way to manage is suddenly no longer working.  Our list of coping strategies may seem to have shortened or be non-existent. For some, it is an opportunity to research solutions, find a friend to talk to, or find a support group where others experiencing something similar can provide validation, support, and resources.  For some, it’s time to seek help from a professional who can provide individual assessment, clinically proven strategies, and a different perspective than family, friends, or even others in the same boat. 

If you or someone you care about needs information or the assistance of a mental health professional, you may find help via one of the resources below.

disAbility Navigator Virginia 
under Health/Disabilities and Health Conditions
Psychology Today
Find a Therapist
NAMI Northern Virginia
Professional Mental Health Resources


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