March Into Spring With Better Mental Health and a spotlight on RAFT

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March Into Spring With Better Mental Health 


According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

“Mental health is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health.

But what is the definition of good mental health? WHO says it is a “state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

What can we do to improve our mental health?

Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health. Practice overcoming negative self-talk.

Focusing on positive thinking

You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you're creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:

  • Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you usually think negatively about, whether it's work, your daily commute or a relationship. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
  • Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
  • Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can also break it up into 10-minute chunks of time during the day. Exercise can positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn techniques to manage stress.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you. Think about things you're thankful for in your life.

Adapted from

Spotlight on RAFT Staff


Verniecia Bell, LPC

Mental Health Therapist



What is your favorite thing about being a therapist on the RAFT team? 

I enjoy working with our clients, who are part of a vulnerable population that I believe at times gets overlooked . Since we have not been able to go into the facilities since last year, I enjoy seeing our clients via zoom and how excited some of them get when they see us on the video.

What are you looking forward to in the new year? 

I look forward to returning to some sense of normalcy and being able to travel again.

What do you like to do when you aren't working?                                                                           

When I’m not working I enjoy exploring new places with my family. Due to COVID, we have been very creative with finding outdoor activities so I have been able to explore new parks, playgrounds, and places such as fruit orchards and farms.




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Innovative Geriatric
Mental Health Services


The RAFT program provides intensive mental health services to individuals in Long Term Care Facilities, as well as education, training and consultations for Long Term Care Communities, Community Providers and others in the community to develop the skills and knowledge base to successfully understand and work with individuals with Mental Health and Dementia Diagnoses.


7611 Little River Turnpike
Suite 200
Annandale, VA 22003

Phone: 703-531-2144
TTY: 703-228-1788