Normalizing mental health: ‘I know there’s this whole, ‘Well, pick yourself up by your bootstraps’ mentality, but it’s very old school’
The smile on full display from Simone Biles said it all: The U.S. superstar stuck the landing on her balance beam routine, her face lit up, and all at once, she embodied pure joy, a seventh Olympic medal, and likely some relief, having the weight of the world off her back, at least for a few minutes.
Normalizing mental health: ‘If Simone Biles got coronavirus, this would be a completely different talk’
Therapy gave Danielle Gomez the tools she needed to navigate a particularly hard chapter in her life, after both of her parents were diagnosed with cancer within six months of one another; she suffered a miscarriage; and then got pregnant again.
Strug pushed through, Simone stood firm -- why is there any debate as to which is more heroic?
Even if you haven’t been watching the Olympic Games like a hawk, you’ve likely heard the biggest news of the week: Gymnast Simone Biles, who is widely regarded as the greatest of all time, withdrew from the women’s team contest after her first rotation on the vault Tuesday, and then pulled out from the individual all-around competition the following day.
‘I was in such good health.’ From the top of her game to a paralyzing stroke -- how this journalist made the comeback of a lifetime.
Kristen Aguirre, by all accounts, did everything right: She wanted to deliver the news, and work as a storyteller, especially for underserved communities -- and after college, she landed TV jobs in Quincy, Illinois; Flint, Michigan; and then Denver, working as a reporter and anchor. It seemed like nothing could stop her. Until she was blindsided by a ischemic stroke that hit the motor strip of her brain.
Southwest, Central Virginia authorities call on state to improve broken mental health system
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Top cops from all across Southwest and Central Virginia are sounding the alarm about issues with the mental health system, leading to big challenges for law enforcement. Sheriff’s offices in Montgomery County, Floyd County, Campbell County, Bedford County, Amherst County and Roanoke County and police departments in Christiansburg and Blacksburg were all represented. A multi-agency effort is underway to change the way mental health calls are handled. “The immediate crisis of a mental health crisis is sometimes short-lived. Now, they’re calling on the Department of Behavioral Health and the General Assembly to make changes by addressing bed space, mental health services and transport options.
Mental health on the COVID frontlines: Our next crisis?
The following article touches on mental health as it pertains to those who have worked on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the real emotional stories we cover play out in the documentary above. Health care turned upside-downIn March 2020, the world was flipped upside-down, and because of that, there have been and continue to be many who have experienced difficult moments, some of which have led to real mental health crises. As a society, we’re constantly putting an emphasis on physical health, which is important, but somewhere along the way, it seems as though mental health was forgotten. This certainly wasn’t someone who suffered from mental health conditions or depression for years. Watch our entire special, What Lies Beneath: Managing Mental Health, above.
Demi Lovato’s shocking new docuseries sheds light on mental health struggles
In 2018, singer Demi Lovato almost lost her life to a drug overdose, and now, she’s stepped forward to tell the world her story. Lovato’s new docuseries “Dancing With the Devil,” which you can watch on YouTube, explores the events that led up to her near fatal overdose. The docuseries not only covers Lovato’s prior mental health issues, but how she now processes her daily struggles. AdMany of us have known someone who has had difficulty with mental health, or perhaps someone who struggles with addiction. The first two episodes of “Dancing with the Devil” are available to watch on YouTube, and you can expect to see two more episodes coming out.
National Day of Unplugging: Lynchburg counselor shares how to disconnect in a healthy way
It’s time to power down your phone, computer, iPad, Kindle and all your other technology for the National Day of Unplugging. Designate a time of day to unplug or a day out of the week. For older kids, Prinzivalli recommended writing a letter. Lastly, doing something imaginative while being unplugged especially with kids can go a long way. Vinton History Museum is celebrating the Day of Unplugging with a display of historic unplugged artifacts and its Little Free Library will have scavenger hunt packets available.
Virginia legislators push for more funding in mental health services for healthcare workers
ROANOKE, Va – A Virginia lawmaker is pushing for an increase in funding for mental health resources for healthcare workers. The push comes nearly a year after Dr. Lorna Breen took her own life in Charlottesville. Thousands of frontline workers have been struggling with mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. Sen. Tim Kaine introduced the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act in hopes of providing immediate and long-term solutions for them. Lorna Breen’s family has also started a foundation in her honor, for more information visit its website here.
Christmas and the holidays don’t bring joy for everyone
ROANOKE, Va. – The holidays can be a time to spend with family and friends but for those who’ve lost a loved one, the season can be one of sadness. “Thanksgiving and kind of moving through the Christmas into new year’s season can be really hard for families,” explained licensed professional counselor Sarah Harig. Harig, who works at Family Service of Roanoke Valley, said grief can leave you feeling out of control, so seek out support and stability. “Maybe you’re feeling joy one moment and overwhelmed and upset the next. Both are valid feelings and important for us to feel in the long-term of dealing with grief,” said Harig.
‘Mom, maybe I need to talk to somebody’: Pandemic affecting teens’ mental health
“She said saying, ‘Mom, maybe I need to talk to somebody. Behavioral experts with Lynchburg City Schools say they have seen an increase in anxiety and depression among their students. “Pay attention to your child, spend time with your child, watch what your child is doing, watch for their natural habits. It’s advice Thompson says she uses with her 13-year-old daughter before things possibly get worse. If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Mental health center could open in former Tudor’s Biscuit World this summer
ROANOKE, Va. – A mental health organization created after a Roanoke restaurant owner’s suicide is preparing to turn the restaurant space into a safe space. Tudor House plans to transform the former Tudor’s Biscuit World in downtown Roanoke into a mental health and suicide prevention counseling center. Executive director Kathleen Thorell said construction will start next month, with the goal of opening the Tudor House this summer. Thorell envisions the brick-and-mortar Tudor House as a place for people to open up about their mental health. “Part of the drawback for mental health services is that it’s not easily accessible," Thorell said.
Tudor House recognized as charity, continues education about mental health
ROANOKE, Va – A non-profit honoring the life of a well-known swim coach in Roanoke is now officially being recognized as a charity. The Tudor House was created two weeks after Louis Tudor took his own life after the pandemic affected his mental health. “If there is anything that’s going to come out of [COVID-19] it’s the awareness of the need for mental health services and being mindful of your mental health and so there is a momentum with that,” Interim Director of the Tudor House Kathleen Thorell said. Any donations made to the Tudor House can be tax-deductible. For more information on Tudor House, you can visit its website here.
Everybody needs inspiration: Chalk art for National Suicide Prevention Week appears in Lynchburg
LYNCHBURG, Va. A Lynchburg group created eye-catching art to start a conversation about suicide and mental health. The Suicide Prevention Awareness Coalition invited artists to draw inspiring chalk images and messages outside of the Academy Center for the Arts on Sunday. The event coincided with the start of National Suicide Prevention Week. People are struggling more so now than ever, and some people are struggling that have never struggled before, said Christina Ingram of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Coalition. The event was attended by Lynchburg vice mayor Beau Wright, who said he has also struggled with his mental health in the past.
Safeside Tactical, Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare partner for “Mental Health First Aid” class
ROANOKE, Va. – Two Roanoke organizations are exploring the intersection of mental health and firearms with a training course during the weekend. Safeside Tactical, a gun store and range in Roanoke, will host Blue Ridge Behavioral Health’s “Mental Health First Aid” course Saturday morning. The training focuses on suicide prevention, as well as looking for mental health warning signs in others before they pick up a gun. Sheila Lythgoe, who runs the training for Blue Ridge Behavioral Health, said Safeside Tactical reached out to her first about collaborating. “It’s really just asking those tough questions about, ‘Are you thinking about suicide?’" Lythgoe said.