In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the Summit Area YMCA (SAY) is encouraging community members to join the conversation about mental health. Mental health is how we think, feel and act. At the Y, we recognize that we all have mental health, and mental health is an important part of our physical health and social-emotional well-being, as well as a core component of our identity.
“We can all play a role in supporting each other’s mental health – at the Y and in our communities,” said Tiffany Escott, Mission Advancement & Development Director of the Summit Area YMCA. “The first step is to start talking in our communities about what mental health really is.”
Help the Y get the conversation going about mental health this Mental Health Awareness Month by sharing these facts with your friends and family:
FACT: We all have mental health, not just those who live with a mental illness. Everyone faces challenges in their life that can impact our mental health.
FACT: There are many things we can do each day to positively impact our mental health. A few examples include:
• moving, fueling and resting our bodies
• being mindful of how we’re feeling and what’s going on around us
• connecting with others, and
• asking for help when needed
FACT: In addition to biological and environmental factors, mental health is influenced by health inequities that can be attributed to systemic racism, the social determinants of health and exposure to trauma. Ys and community organizations can support mental health by addressing barriers that prevent marginalized communities from having access to the support they need.
FACT: Mental health and physical health are interconnected, and both can impact your overall well-being. For example, research shows that exercise can alleviate long-term depression.1
FACT: Positive mental health can be supported in community settings, like the Y, in addition to traditional clinical settings. The Y supports the mental health of individuals and communities in all of the work we do to help people reach their full potential—whether that’s supporting youth in our summer camps, helping people achieve their best physical health, or providing newcomers access to services.
FACT: We all can support the mental health of our community through bringing empathy, compassion and kindness to our interactions with others. Something as simple as intentionally asking “how are you?” and encouraging honest answers can provide us an opportunity to normalize mental health and help others when they need it.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, know that help is available. Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for a list of resources. For immediate help 24-hours a day, call 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.
Mental Health Mondays: Every Monday in the month May will be dedicated to special group exercise classes that promote self-care and emotional healing. Classes include Vinyasa Yoga, Joy, Hot Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and Yoga with Essential Oils.
Intro to Reiki and Self-Care Workshop: Participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of Reiki, information on chakras and how reiki helps to relax and heal. Our instructors will discuss the different levels of Reiki and training will be explained in detail, where participants will then transition to experience Meditation and Reiki Healing.
Stress Relief Yoga Session: Join us every last Friday of the month for Pranayama & Nidra Yoga - a night of yoga, meditation, breathing and stress relief. Re-energize yourself for the start of the next month with a sense of renewal and relaxation!
Mental health is an important part of your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you are at home or at the Y, we are here to support healthy living in mind, body and spirit. Join us in our facilities, programs and services and connect with staff, volunteers and other members, or enjoy a variety of virtual resources to keep your mind and body healthy and engaged. Explore the provided resources here for a variety of free assistance, educational links and related information for coping, help with stress and more.
In 1886, we were founded as the Young Men's Christian Association, but today, we are The Y. An association that values, and is made stronger by, its diverse people. We stand for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — For a better us. We are committed to creating equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, age, disability, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture in which our four core values — responsibility, honesty, caring and respect — are integral to everyday operations.
Each year, as one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations, the Summit Area YMCA serves more than 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the New Jersey communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Our history is rooted in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those in need.