Mental Health Awareness Month: It’s Always Okay to Ask For Help

holding hands to console

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of mental health and well-being in our lives. Established in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month serves as a crucial reminder to prioritize mental and physical health. This month is an opportunity to:

  • Increase awareness: Mental health is an integral part of overall health, and open conversations about mental well-being are essential. Mental Health Awareness Month aims to destigmatize mental health concerns and encourage open communication.

  • Provide resources: SAMHSA, along with countless other organizations, offers a vast network of resources for individuals and communities seeking mental health support.

  • Celebrate recovery: Recovery from mental illness is a real and achievable goal. Mental Health Awareness Month celebrates the resilience and strength of those living with mental health challenges.

You Are Not Alone

Mental Health focuses on the importance of seeking help and the message that it’s okay to not be okay. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, substance use, alcoholism, bullying, or any other mental health concern, we want you to know there is a vast network of support available.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Help is readily available: Numerous resources are available, from hotlines and online support groups to mental health professionals and community programs.

  • Seeking help is a sign of strength: Asking for help is not a weakness; it’s a demonstration of courage and a commitment to your well-being.

  • Recovery is possible: With the right support system and resources, recovery from mental illness is a real possibility.

Taking Action on Mental Health 

This Mental Health Awareness Month, we encourage you to:

  • Educate yourself: Learn about mental health conditions, available resources, and ways to promote mental well-being.

  • Talk openly: Have conversations with friends, family, and colleagues about mental health. Open communication can foster understanding and support.

  • Seek help if needed: Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you are struggling. A mental health professional can provide invaluable support and guidance.

  • Support others: Encourage those you know who may be struggling to seek help. Let them know they are not alone.

By working together, we can create a society where mental health is valued and prioritized. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay, and help is always available.

For Immediate Support:

Let’s make mental health a priority every month, not just in May.

Suicide Prevention Resources from Uncas Health District

Leap into Happiness and Health: Uncas Health District’s Guide for Leap Day 

Little boy jumping over hurdles on running track

Leap Day, that extra day on February 29th, is a day to celebrate the unexpected! Why not use it as a springboard for launching a happier and healthier lifestyle? Here are some tips from Uncas Health District to help residents of Eastern Connecticut make the most of this special occasion:

Fuel Your Body:

  • Leap into a new recipe: Explore a local farm stand or farmers’ market for fresh, seasonal ingredients. Try a recipe bursting with fruits and vegetables, or experiment with a new protein source like lean fish or beans.
  • Pack a healthy picnic: Take advantage of the expected mild weather Leap Day and enjoy a delicious, nutritious lunch al fresco. Pack whole-wheat sandwiches, veggie wraps, fruit salad, and homemade trail mix for a satisfying and healthy feast.
  • Hydrate for happiness: Carry a reusable water bottle and sip throughout the day. Staying hydrated improves energy levels, cognitive function, and even mood!

Move Your Body:

  • Leap out and explore: Lace up your walking shoes and embark on a new adventure. Eastern Connecticut is full of scenic trails, parks, and historic sites to discover. Challenge yourself to a longer walk than usual, or try a new route.
  • Get active indoors: Invite friends and family for a fun game of indoor basketball, badminton, or jump rope. Even a dance party in your living room can be a great way to get your heart rate up and have a laugh.
  • Join a local fitness class: Many gyms and community centers offer free or discounted introductory classes on Leap Day. Try something new like Zumba, yoga, or Pilates to discover an activity you enjoy.

Nourish Your Mind:

  • Start a gratitude journal: Take a few minutes each day to write down three things you’re grateful for. This simple practice can boost your mood and improve overall well-being.
  • Connect with loved ones: Schedule a phone call, video chat, or in-person visit with friends and family. Social connection is essential for mental and emotional health.
  • Get lost in a good book: Dedicate some time to reading a book that inspires, educates, or simply brings you joy. Curling up with a good read can be a relaxing and rewarding escape.


  • Small changes add up: Don’t feel pressured to overhaul your entire lifestyle at once. Start with small, sustainable changes that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
  • Find what works for you: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to happiness and health. Experiment and discover what activities and practices make you feel your best.
  • Celebrate your progress: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. This will help you stay motivated and on track toward your goals.

Uncas Health District is committed to supporting the health and well-being of Eastern Connecticut residents. We encourage you to use Leap Day as a springboard for a happier and healthier you!

Bonus Tip: Share your Leap Day wellness activities on social media using #UncasHealthLeap and inspire others to join the movement!

Together, let’s make the Uncas Health District a healthier and happier place to live!


Shine Brighter in February: Celebrate International Boost Self-Esteem Month

man showing self esteem.

February isn’t just about roses and chocolates. It’s also International Boost Self-Esteem Month, a dedicated time to focus on the transformative power of feeling good about ourselves. So, let’s ditch the negativity and delve into why positive self-esteem matters and how we can cultivate it within ourselves and others.

Why is good self-esteem important?

Positive self-esteem isn’t about vanity or bragging. It’s about having a healthy internal perception of your worth and capabilities. This translates into numerous benefits, including:

Boosting your own self-esteem:

There are practical ways to nurture your self-worth. Here are some tips:

  • Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself, acknowledge your flaws, and celebrate your strengths.
  • Challenge negative self-talk: Replace critical thoughts with empowering affirmations.
  • Identify your values and live accordingly: Doing what matters to you strengthens self-esteem.
  • Celebrate your achievements, big and small: Recognize your progress and effort.
  • Embrace learning and growth: View mistakes as opportunities to improve.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people: Positive connections uplift and inspire you.

Helping others shine:

Let’s extend our self-esteem boost beyond ourselves! Here’s how you can support others:

  • Offer genuine compliments and encouragement: Focus on their strengths and positive qualities.
  • Actively listen without judgment: Create a safe space for them to share and be heard.
  • Celebrate their successes: Be genuinely excited about their achievements.
  • Offer constructive feedback: Focus on improvement, not criticism.
  • Model positive self-esteem: Your confidence can inspire others.

Remember, boosting self-esteem is a journey, not a destination. Be patient, celebrate progress, and don’t hesitate to seek professional support if needed. Let’s make this February a month of self-acceptance, inner strength, and radiant self-esteem for ourselves and everyone around us.

Read more about suicide prevention, intervention, and response


Chasing the Winter Blues Away: Minimizing the Impact of Seasonal Affective Disorder

woman impacted by seasonal affective disorder

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, many people experience a shift in their mood and energy levels. This seasonal change can trigger a type of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is characterized by a recurrent pattern of depressive symptoms that begin and end at about the same time each year, typically during the fall and winter months.

Symptoms of SAD:

  • Feeling sad or depressed most of the day.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy.
  • Changes in appetite or weight (overeating or loss of appetite).
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Feeling sluggish or having low energy levels.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless.
  • Thoughts of suicide.

How SAD can impact your mental health

SAD can significantly impact various aspects of your mental health:

  • Reduced motivation and productivity: SAD can make it difficult to concentrate, complete tasks, and maintain your usual level of activity.
  • Social withdrawal: You may feel less inclined to socialize and participate in activities you used to enjoy, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Increased anxiety and stress: SAD can exacerbate existing anxiety and stress levels, making it even harder to cope with daily challenges.
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors: In severe cases, SAD can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Here are some helpful tips to minimize the impact of SAD:

Light therapy: Light therapy involves using a special light box that emits bright light similar to natural sunlight. Sitting in front of a light box for 30-60 minutes each morning can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and improve your mood.

Exercise: Regular exercise is a powerful mood booster and can help combat the symptoms of SAD. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can help improve your mood and energy levels.

Eat a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help improve your mood and overall health.

Limit alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine can worsen the symptoms of SAD. Try to limit your intake of these substances or avoid them altogether.

Spend time outdoors: Even on cloudy days, spending time outdoors can help improve your mood and energy levels. Make sure to dress warmly and bundle up in the winter months.

Connect with others: Social interaction is important for mental health. Make an effort to spend time with loved ones and participate in activities you enjoy.

Seek professional help: If your symptoms are severe or don’t improve with self-care, seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. They can provide you with additional support and guidance for managing SAD.

By taking steps to manage your SAD symptoms, you can enjoy a happier and healthier winter season.

988 suicide and crisis hotline

Additional resources:

By being proactive and implementing healthy coping strategies, you can overcome the challenges of SAD and embrace the winter months with a smile. Remember, you are not alone, and help is available.

Check your mental health at Fresh Check Day — Sept. 27 at Three Rivers Community College

teens having fun

On Wednesday, September 27, members of the Uncas Health District team will be heading to CT State Community College Three Rivers (formerly Three Rivers Community College) for Fresh Check Day — an uplifting mental health promotion and suicide prevention event for colleges that includes interactive expo booths, peer-to-peer messaging, support of multiple campus departments and groups, free food, entertainment, and exciting prizes and giveaways.

Fresh Check Day aims to create an approachable and hopeful atmosphere where students are encouraged to engage in dialogue about mental health and helps to build a bridge between students and the mental health resources available on campus, in the community, and nationally.

Goals of Fresh Check Day

  • Increase awareness of mental health resources available to students
  • Reduce stigma and misconceptions around mental health and suicide that often deter individuals from seeking help
  • Empower peers to be gatekeepers by understanding warning signs and knowing what to do if a friend is exhibiting signs of suicide or mental health breakdown
  • Increase willingness to ask for help if experiencing emotional distress

[maxbutton id=”3″ url=”” text=”More About Fresh Check Day” ]

September is Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about suicide and its prevention. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24.

Help is available 24/7:

[maxbutton id=”19″ url=”” text=”Suicide Prevention Resources” ]




Suicide Prevention Month: creating hope through action

Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about suicide and its prevention. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24.

There are many warning signs that someone may be thinking about suicide.

These signs can include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or feeling like a burden
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Changes in mood, such as becoming withdrawn or angry
  • Giving away belongings
  • Making a plan for suicide

If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these warning signs, it is important to take action. Do not hesitate to reach out for help.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Talk to the person about how they are feeling. Let them know that you care and that you are there for them.
  • Encourage the person to seek professional help. Many resources are available, such as therapists, counselors, and support groups.
  • Remove any access to weapons or other means of suicide.
  • Stay calm and supportive. It is important to be patient and understanding.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

There is hope for people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts. With the right help, they can get better and live full and happy lives.

To learn more about suicide prevention, visit the following websites:

Call to action:

  • Talk to your friends, family, and coworkers about suicide prevention.
  • Share resources on suicide prevention on social media.
  • Get involved in a suicide prevention organization in your community.
Skip to content