On Saturday, June 2nd, One Church Empowerment Center and Rock the Runway hosted an event for Women’s Health Day. Reynelda Jones of A Solution B attended the Emotional Health Panel, where she and other mental health professionals from the community discussed topics concerning women’s health.
What is mental health?
A topic that arose early in the conversation was of defining mental health. The panel generally agreed that mental health involves the complex of chemical changes to the brain that affect daily life and well-being. Reynelda made a point to add that the physical and chemical changes to the body as well as to the brain are involved in a person’s mental health as well. The physical element is one often omitted but one which Reynelda believes should be involved in the perspective of mental health in general.
Effects if Childhood stress
The panel discussed ACE (Adverse Childhood Effects), which occurs when children experience stress and trauma early in life and often develop health problems later on in life as a consequence. This exemplifies, as Reynelda pointed out, that stress plays a very important part in a person’s mental health, particularly in the long term.
The role of the mental health professional
At one point during the panel, an audience member noted the significant role that therapists often play in people’s lives. They mentioned that therapists maintain an obligation to hear out and interpret a person’s emotions where many in one’s support network of friends and family are not so obligated. Though there are boundaries and confidentiality rules that come along with having a therapist, the support they provide is often of considerable weight in a person’s life.
Can nutrition impact mental health?
Nutrition arose as a topic in regard to its role in mental health. Reynelda noted that diet plays a role in short and long term mental health. For instance, some foods and beverages (caffeine for example) have unhelpful effects when it comes to moments of anxiety. Also, our diets these days very often consist of very processed foods, and as a consequence many of the vitamins that would otherwise be sufficient in more natural foods are left out or deficient in a lot of the processed foods we are exposed to. Deficiency in things like magnesium and vitamin B-12 can cause chemical imbalances and lead to adverse effects on mood and energy. Our diet plays a very important role in maintaining good mental health.
The gift of empathy
Often, we find ourselves in positions of supporting others. As an audience member mentioned, we are often in positions of taking on the emotions of others. Many of us, said Reynelda, have a spirit of empathic nature which attracts those in need of empathy, and many can often handle the emotional weight that others could not—these people are quite often important points of support in people’s lives.
The panel concluded on the subject of therapy and having a support in general, agreeing that it is important not to be strictly reactionary about counseling—that it is good for a person to continue even in better phases of their mental health so that they can understand how to maintain those good phases. They stressed the importance of seeking out a support when needed, and to practice open and honest communication with them as you work to improve your mental health.
Thank you to...
- All of the attendees and the willingness to ask questions
- One Church Empowerment Center for the invitation to assist in helping others
- To Kindra for the permission to use the photos above.
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