Mental Health May

Take Care

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. Mental Health Awareness Month was established to raise awareness of mental health challenges, to destigmatize the act of seeking treatment and to normalize talking about mental health. Mental health is an incredibly important part of our overall health. It’s now more important than ever to support mental well-being for ourselves, our loved ones, and for our communities especially as many Americans face the reality of living with mental illness. Remember, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can recover from mental disorders and live full and productive lives. The RAFT program feels it is important to share information about emotional awareness during Mental Health Awareness Month by highlighting 5 pillars to wellbeing.

Allow yourself to feel:  Sometimes there are societal pressures that cause people to shut down their emotions. Everyone has emotions; they are part of the human experience. Most of us have heard the term “bottling up your feelings”. When we try to push feelings aside without addressing them, they build strength and make us more likely to “explode” at some point in the future. It may not always be appropriate to process your emotions at the very moment you are feeling them but try to do so as soon as you can.

Build your emotional vocabulary:  When asked about our feelings, most people will usually use words like bad, sad, mad, good, or fine. But at the root of “good, bad, sad, mad, or fine”, are many words that better describe how we feel. Try building your emotional vocabulary by writing down as many feeling words as you can think of at the time you feel that way.

Consider the strength of your feelings:  By thinking about how intense your emotions are, you may realize that what you thought you were feeling at first could be better described by another word.  For instance, sometimes a person might say they are stressed when what they are really experiencing something less severe like annoyance. Alternatively, anger might really be a stronger, deeper feeling.

Humor: Humor can help us be more resilient when life doesn’t go our way. It enables us to make light of our situation. People who have access to their sense of humor during challenging times are more resilient.  Humor can be initiated in many ways, such as through games, books, and movies that get you laughing.   

Talk it out:  If you are taking the steps discussed above to be more in touch with your feelings, but are having trouble dealing with them, you may want to find someone you can trust to talk to, such as a friend or mental health professional.  A strong social support system improves overall mental health outcomes and the ability to bounce back from stressful situations.


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Sources: Greenbrook Neuro health Center

Mental Health America

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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