The Mental Health Coalition – May is Mental Health Month

May 3, 2022 (Reposted from The Mental Health Coalition)

This Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re inviting you to feel your feelings.

Many of us have been feeling a lot lately, so it’s more important than ever to check in on our emotions and talk about them with others. By building our emotional vocabulary and owning our moods, we’re working to destigmatize mental health and show that no matter what you’re feeling, it’s okay to feel it.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May 2, 2022 (Repost from the NAMI NYS Newsletter)

As we continue to combat the impacts of COVID-19 on our community’s mental health and the stigma surrounding mental illness, we are expanding our efforts to provide advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. Our work to improve mental well-being is needed now, more than ever before.

To help address the needs of our communities, NAMI-NYS and affiliates are offering an array events and activities to promote wellness and recovery in our communities. Learn how you can get involved below!

(Click here to Learn More)

Dangerous Gifts

May 2, 2022 (Reprint from Sascha DeBrul’s Underground Transmissions; Dangerous Gifts)

I’ve long admired the writing and exquisite work of Sascha DuBrul and he periodically shares a newsletter called Underground Transmissions. In this edition, he mentions an online course he developed for the Institute for Human Arts (IDHA) called Dangerous Gifts.

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Wellness Institute Calendar (May)

May 1, 2022 (Submitted by Peggy Swarbrick, CPSNJ)

National Mental Health Awareness Month

You can find resource kits for Mental Health Awareness Month 2022 For posters on person-first language, visit the American Hospital Association website.

Week 1: May 1 – 7

May 1 – 7 is Drinking Water Week: Find resources to share from the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation campaign, called Water’s Worth It.

May 3: National Garden Meditation Day: Take time today to relax outside. Visit a local garden and, mindfully, enjoy the sights, the smells, and the sounds. Another option is to do a virtual garden visit or a guided meditation.

May 4: National Renewal Day: Set your sights on a new wellness goal, beginning today. Spring cleaning inside and out will renew and refresh you. Focus on self-care to help you continue your wellness journey.

May 6 – 15 National Public Gardens Week:  This special week spans two weekends, which gives you plenty of time for garden visits! Find a botanical garden in your area—many have free or reduced cost visit times. Learn about the US Botanical Garden through a virtual tour. Many other public gardens also have online video tours. Just google “botanical garden virtual tour.”

May 7: National Scrapbook Day: Are you a scrapbook fan? If so, check for local gatherings of other scrapbookers! If not, learn about how to get started with a scrapbook and find ways to save memories, decorate your journal, or create gifts for friends and family.

May 7: National Play Outside Day: National Play Outside Day is the first Saturday of every month.  Go outside and have some fun! You can boost your mood, benefit from sun and exercise and appreciate nature and the world around you.

Week 2: May 8 – 14

This is SAMHSA National Prevention Week. Visit the website for more information and tips on planning events.

May 8: Mother’s Day: In 1914, Woodrow Wilson designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Celebrate all motherly people—who have impacted your life.

May 14: National Miniature Golf Day: Wherever you are, there’s probably a mini-golf course nearby! Want to be amazed? Google “mini golf art” and click on images.

Week 3: May 15 – 21

May 21 National Learn to Swim Day: Swimming can be a life-saving skill, especially for children. It’s also a great way to exercise and a terrific summer activity. For information, check out USA Swimming.

Week 4: May 22 – 28

May 23 National Lucky Penny Day: Is a found penny really lucky? Is it worth bending over to pick it up? Have you ever heard of a “large penny”? Find out about this and other fun penny facts on the website for the US Mint.

May 24 National Scavenger Hunt Day: Have a digital “8D” scavenger hunt! Each person or team takes a picture of something that boosts their wellness in each dimension. Set a time limit, then get together and share.

Here’s a checklist to get you started, or download our free booklet, Wellness in Eight Dimensions, as a guide.

  • ☐ Physical
  • ☐ Emotional
  • ☐ Intellectual
  • ☐ Spiritual
  • ☐ Occupational
  • ☐ Social
  • ☐ Financial
  • ☐ Environmental

Week 5: May 29 – 31

May 30 National Creativity Day: The arts are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, makes your soul grow. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will feel rewarded by having created something.

May 31 National Smile Day: Share a smile and start a cycle of positivity. When you smile at someone else, they usually smile back. A smile makes you feel warm and often results in you smiling….

May is also…

Get Caught Reading Month

Visit your local public library or independent bookstore. Libraries offer digital downloads of print and audio books. Is there a Little Free Library in your area? Or a “take one, leave one shelf” where you can get a free book?

National Salad Month: Prepare a nice salad each day!

National Strawberry Month: Yum!

For more fun holidays, visit:

(To view the Wellness Institute Newsletter, click here.)

Time for Mental Health Awareness Month

April 30, 2022 by Howard Diamond

HEY HEY, Everyone! Ready for spring weather! May, the fifth month of the year, where we can spend more time outdoors.  We can breathe some fresh air, despite COVID19 regulations. Be careful and wear that mask and try not to over congregate in one place. Really, I do feel sorry for the folks out there who suffer from allergies. It must be a bummer and I can relate because I have my own set of allergies.

In addition, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Over the last several years, I have written articles on this topic. This year is no exception, so let’s focus our eyes, clear the wax out of our ears, if necessary, blow our noses and buckle our seat belts. When done, start our engines cause our next journey is about to begin. Let us all remember my saying, “Every  Journey Begins With One Step”. Ready! Set! Engage! Is everyone moving? I know, I am.

Every year of Mental Awareness Month has a specific theme. For 2022, the theme is “Together For Mental Health”. According to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI),  “We will use this time to bring our voices together to advocate for Mental Health and access to care. Together we can realize our shared vision of an entire nation where anyone affected by mental illness can get the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy and fulfilling times “.

There are significant reasons for having Mental Health Awareness Month, in accordance with, Mental Health Week, this year from May 10 through May 16. One main reason is to focus on and aim to get people talking about mental health. Also, it helps to reduce the stigma that prevents individuals from asking for assistance with our issues. It is said that in the world population, approximately one in four of us, suffers from mental health problems.

For me, Mental Health Awareness Month exists to make and to educate everyone and be well informed and knowledgeable. My hope is that this will aid in breaking down the barriers of stigma. We can triumphantly accomplish this by trying  to ensure that all Americans get the same opportunities equally and fairly. Mental health stigma refers to societal disapproval, or when a society places shame on people who live with mental health issues. To be successful in combating stigma happens when all of us are reaping all the possible necessary benefits for our overall physical and mental health.

How can we do our part in observing Mental Health Awareness? Good question. Let’s proceed. Initially, reach out to our friends and relatives and try to explain the issues. We don’t have to be open to talk about our mental health concerns, but it could be good to share. Possibly, we can just slide into the conversation, and wait for the responses. As 

individuals who deal with our own mental health concerns, we can understand when someone is needing mental health services. Maybe one day, mental health issues can be discussed in conversation as easily as physical issues.

When anyone does responds positively, we can offer support and try to steer people in a better course of action. Also, we can offer suggestions that might be beneficial to all. We can also ask for the time off and visit our own therapy team. Our therapist can assess 

the situation and let us know if someone needs more services or not. When we are mentally sharp, it is easier to offer options to others that might benefit.

Possibly the only way we enjoy life to its fullest capacity and experience its many wonders are when we take care of ourselves.  We need to do this both physically and mentally. Don’t be shy and be afraid from talking with others about what is hurting us. At least, try our best, it is not easy. Remember, it is not our doing and it is not our fault, no matter what society tells us.

We as mental health recipients have come a long way. From the times when we were called mental patients, we were treated like outcasts, not only by our families and friends, but also by the entire medical profession situations have changed. Times have begun evolving and 

more and more people, including the medical community, are altering outlooks on mental illnesses, now called mental health or mental wellness. Coming a long distance is good, but we need to go even further in our excursions.

As humans we are a set of meticulously-put-together and well-oiled detailed machines. Our minds and bodies work with each other in expert harmony. This brings us extraordinary feats in technology, science, humanities, to name a few. What needs a boost and some
sort of increase is in our mental power; therefore, we need to be taken an improved care of our minds and souls for a better tomorrow and for all our generations to follow.

At this moment it is May, we are celebrating again, Mental Health Awareness Month. Naturally, for all of us that deal with mental health issues plus first as human beings, we will survive. In addition, we serve as a champion of our own issues everywhere, we need to try harder to spread our word of probable recovery. Remember, this begins with one person and another and can spread quickly. Do our part, one person after another.

See you in the News Blogs and Newsletters.

Howard Diamond is a Certified Peer Specialist from Long Island.

If You Think Work is Bad for People with Mental Illness, What About Poverty, Unemployment, and Social Isolation?

April 28, 2022 (Reprinted from NYAPRS ENews)

Joe Marrone

NYAPRS Note: Over 20 years ago,  Joe Marrone, then  Senior Program Manager for Public Policy at the Institute for Community Inclusion emerged as a leading proponent for employment for people with psychiatric disabilities with these famous words:  “If You Think Work is Bad for People with Mental Illness, What About Poverty, Unemployment, and Social Isolation?” Accordingly, Joe’s impact on our work ranks akin to psychiatric rehabilitation founder Bill Anthony.

(To view the full article, click here)

NYAPRS is very pleased to host Joe in a new webinar by the same name in which he’ll advance strategies on how to avoid long term unemployment and to promote employment as a key component of recovery within systems of care. This webinar is for everyone, including people looking for employment, direct care providers and administrators. Don’t miss this one!

(To register for the webinar, click here)

What Brooklyn’s Subway Shooting Reveals About The State Of Mental Health Care: Politico

April 16 (Repost from NYAPRS/Politico)

Some news outlets, professors and policymakers are rushing to judgement about what led to the subway shooting horror associated with Frank R. James and to identify causes and remedies to prevent terrible tragedies like this from occurring in the future.

NBC New York

From early reporting, Mr James has a long history of criminality and preoccupation with violence and is someone who has referred to personal struggles with PTSD and who has had past and possibly current involvement with mental health services.

Events like these inevitably lead to calls for more coercive mental health treatment orders but typically fail to look at the role of the criminal justice system, the impact of social determinants of health like poverty, isolation and discrimination or around the need to increase availability and access to existing models of innovative voluntary services that are engaging, personalized and persistent.

On this note, come hear NYC Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Ashwin Vasan’s talk on ‘The Nexus Between Behavioral and Public Health and Social Policy’ at NYAPRS April 26-7 Executive Seminar. You can register at

(Read More)

Baseball and Spring Are a Remarkable Pair

April 15, A Poem by Howard Diamond

green ball on sand
Photo by Pixabay on

Baseball is back for all to watch
Spring is a fun time to go outside and play
Take out our gloves and let’s have a catch
Blossoming flowers are here to stay.

Mets and Yankees are in spring training
June brides, May flowers and April showers
Baseball and Spring are a remarkable pairing
Showing their strengths and their powers.

Each player does what it takes to get ready
Holidays of Easter and Passover will be here soon
Swinging their bats and hitting the ball steady
Enjoy spring and baseball by whistling a happy tune.

Pete Alonzo hits the ball hard and it goes far
Daydreaming in daylight without even a care
He is a consistent player and a Mets all-star
Baseball and spring are a remarkable pair.

Aaron Judge is the Yankees main masher
Starting to spend quality hours outdoors
His all-star years have been as team’s basher
Glad he is on my team and not on yours.

Pursue an activity to do this time of year
Spending time to be with our friends and talk
Rooting for our favorite team with less fear
Planning a good idea to take a long walk.

Trying to go outside and enjoy the weather
Summer will be here before we know it
Seeing our lawns get greener and better
Reading on the boardwalk to think and sit.

Spring is only three months not very fair
Baseball is 162 games each planned for nine
Baseball and spring are a remarkable pair
Each year they come together and that’s fine.

A poem by  HOWARD DIAMOND, Certified Peer Specialist from Long Island. 


April 11 – A story by Howard Diamond


On the night of February 9, several years ago, it was one of those biting cold, sub-zero evenings when thirty-one-year-old Holly Stephens prepared to leave her job as a Peer Specialist for the Wellness Academy in the small village, Lake Town. The time was shortly before 8pm and she was preparing to leave after a long and exhausting day. Looking through a window, Holly could see that it was dark, and she heard the howling of the wind banging against the lit lamp posts. Also, she noticed the snow was falling heavily plus blowing in a sideways direction as if all the elements of the weather were moving and defying gravity.

As she grabbed her heavy jacket and her two sets of keys, Holly thought she perceived some noise down the corridor and thought she saw someone entering the front door of the building. Holly was right! In the lobby, there was a security officer with a young lady who stood shivering and shaking, while blowing on her  hands that were frozen from the cold and wind. She was also pregnant. Never one to ignore someone in need, Holly started the conversation by introducing herself to the woman who said her name was Ruth and admitted being with child. At this moment, Holly got two chairs from the security guard. Ruth agreed to sit down and talk. Then, Holly practiced relaxation exercises with Ruth to try to calm her down and give Ruth some peace of mind as she was getting away from the inclement weather outside.

gray scale photo of a pregnant woman
Photo by Pixabay on


Now, Holly wondered how this happened? Ruth explained that she had turned twenty-six, was over seven months pregnant, homeless and the unborn child’s father had abandoned her a few months prior. Earlier in the day, her landlady threw her into the cold as Ruth had not paid rent for two months. After walking the streets for what felt like hours, she had stopped inside to take a load off her feet and warm up. Once again, Holly thought out loud, how could anyone do this to another person, especially to someone with all these needs, including having little money, with a child and having nowhere to go? Then, Ruth softly said she was used to this as she had been in and out of housing for five years.

According to Holly’s thinking, no one needs to get accustomed to what Ruth was currently going through. As a Peer Specialist, Holly had many resources at her disposal. With Ruth’s consent, she texted her Peer Supervisor, Steffie Green for advice. Then, Holly and Ruth looked through Holly’s laptop and figured out what might be best for her. There were local hotels and motels, but they were either expensive or rundown and in sleazy areas of downtown. Finally, Holly thought a respite might be a possible viable option.

(Read More)

Funding for Veterans’ Agencies

April 4, 2022 (Repost from NYAPRS ENews)

CARES UP program will provide support to law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical service members, corrections officers, and military Veterans.

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today announced funding for a new initiative to strengthen resiliency and suicide prevention efforts among military Veterans and uniformed personnel, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical service members, and corrections officers.

The program is called CARES UP (Changing the Conversation, Awareness, Resilience, Empower Peers, Skills Building/ Suicide Prevention for Uniformed Personnel) and was developed by the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Suicide Prevention Center  (OMH SPCNY)

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “CARES UP will provide much-needed mental wellness support to first responders, uniformed personnel, and military Veterans – all of whom are at an elevated risk for suicide compared to the general population in New York State.  CARES UP programming will support resiliency and wellness among our veterans and uniformed personnel and will ultimately save lives and protect our communities.”

Funding for Veterans’ Agencies

The awards include $210,000 for three Veteran-serving organizations:

  • Tioga County Veterans’ Service Agency
  • WNY Heroes, Inc.
  • The PFC Joseph PDwyerVeterans Peer Support Program of Rensselaer County 

The funds will be used to increase participation in a model national program called the Expiration of Term of Service Sponsorship Program (ETS-SP).  This program assists service members and Veterans as they shift from military to civilian life by connecting them with a local volunteer peer sponsor. The program focuses on the first year of post-military life, a timeframe associated with high rates of homelessness, criminal justice involvement, alcohol and substance use, unemployment, and suicide among Veterans. Using peer-reviewed, evidence-based best practices, ETS Sponsors are trained and certified to build relationships and resiliency.

(Read More)