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7 Takeaways from Mental Health Awareness Month 2022

Written by Bruce Cruser

Bruce Cruser has been Executive Director of Mental Health Virginia since 2016, bringing a background in social work and community corrections, and many years of leadership experience in local and state government.

June 22, 2022

1. The research suggests a record number of us are experiencing mental health problems, and a record number are now thinking about our mental health and talking about it.

2. More of us are not just talking but actually doing something about it. We’re trying to get an appointment with a mental health professional, we’re calling the Warm Line, finding something that helps us stay mentally healthy: getting meditation apps, practicing mindfulness, doing yoga, taking walks, making art, finding supportive people, getting more sleep and exercise (or whatever works for you).

3. Young people tend to talk about mental health more easily and are eager to do something. During May two young people asked to do a fundraiser for us – one a musician conducting a final school performance, and the other a new entrepreneur incorporating mental health into her fashion designs.

4. A radio station talk show at Virginia State University asked us on to describe our agency services and share good mental health practices.

5. Our first annual Playtime for Mental Health event, on a 99 Degree day at a county park, exceeded our expectations. Young adults and children printed tote bags, picked up resource information, and 120 ice cream bars!

6. In response to the impact of mass school shootings, our friends at Voices for Virginia’s Children quickly shared resources for parents and caregivers to help children talk about these issues.

7. The Virginia legislature finally passed a new two-year state budget. Although not everything we hoped for, it includes the largest increases ever for mental health services.

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