As a mental health counselor for faculty and staff, I have engaged with the community in individual confidential counseling and area leaders and managers to facilitate behavioral health programs for their immediate group. They are the true heroes who demonstrated courage in seeking help, grit by staying in the fight, compassion by caring for others and holistic health by not giving up on themselves and their families.
Mental health is neither mentally ill nor well but on a continuum. We move up and down this continuum based on our genetic makeup, early childhood years, upbringing, life circumstances and the stresses we confront. As such, mental health illnesses and positive mental health states are at the opposite end of the continuum. Mental health resources aim to move us toward a positive mental state, meaningful life and reach optimal self.
Georgetown University (GU) is a multi-ethnic and multi-generational community. It is also a global institution attracting the global community. The magnitude of diversity sustained at GU is highly likely to experience stress as local, national and international factors intersect with GUs core values. The embrace of mental health resources destigmatizes mental health and proactively empowers employees to use it as a healthy self-care resource. Simply put, a healthy mental health presence within the institution offers us the advantage of shaping our workforce’s cognitive and emotional culture.
My family and I were like many others in this last year experiencing life like a patchwork of open fields. Interspersed with several occasions of joy among a social pod of trusted people there were many moments of utter hopelessness…we navigated the year with the help of movies, games, chats, pizzas, walks, self-care apps and more. Practicing what I preached in counseling sessions, I connected with my family and extended family members in India; however, I might have overdone it a little bit with the calls – they began feeling that getting COVID-19 was an easier fate than playing agony aunt to me!