Mental Health Awareness
By Loren S. Johnson-Rosa, LCSW
Loren S. Johnson-Rosa was born in Princeton, raised on Clay Street, and graduated from Princeton High School in 1976 before attending Rutgers University. She is passionate about supporting mothers; she is the proud mother of two adult children and five grandchildren. Her parents were the late Estelle and Sam Johnson. Loren now has her own mental health organization, WE HELP PEOPLE, and a contract with NJ’s Children System of Care.
People today are consciously focused on their mental health more than ever before. The pandemic has caused us to not only question what is going on in the world, it is affecting us individually and collectively. Daily shootings produce grief and loss challenges. We may find ourselves wondering what we can do about it, if anything. Our children are suffering, our seniors are suffering, and the middle-aged individuals who are usually caring for one or the other and sometimes both are also suffering. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations are all mental health challenges that are causing people to begin to explore how they can pull through their difficulties.
Mental health challenges are not easy to manage when you don’t understand that it can happen to the smartest of mankind. It has no respect for the person and can come when you least expect that it may be happening to you.
Mental Health clinicians are charged with helping others to address some very complex mental health issues. Some symptoms may overlap with others, but the key is to familiarize yourself with the symptoms. There are numerous modalities that tackle the gamut of mental health illnesses. Unfortunately, our community has for many years downplayed the importance and or significance of expressing one’s innermost thoughts and feelings.
Today, we continue to struggle with the issues of trust, shame and guilt to the point where it becomes obvious that an outside source is necessary to pinpoint the challenges. Oftentimes it takes a tragedy before a person will seek help from a mental health professional. Statistics say that 1 in 5 adolescents and adults struggle with an undiagnosed mental illness. Therefore, it is important to know the warning signs of the most common diagnoses for these age brackets. Here are just a few:
- Mood swings from uncontrollable highs to deep feelings of sadness
- Delusions – visual and auditory hallucinations
- Prolonged anger and irritability
- Isolation, grief, and loss
- Excessive uncontrollable worry or fear
- Problems with concentration or focus
- Low energy or difficulty sleeping
Mental health challenges are now more prevalent with our younger children, which is causing their educational experiences to require a different approach. Unfortunately, our educational community may not be as aware of these common symptoms for our younger children. Here are a few areas to be mindful when it comes to our babies:
- Changes in their day-to-day behaviors
- Struggles with bedtime.
In conclusion, I implore everyone to take a moment and think about the importance of self-care, the development of effective coping skills and most importantly finding a mental health professional when necessary. Getting an accurate diagnosis can help reduce some symptoms or identify if medication will even be necessary. Our mental health care is just as important as our medical health care.
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WJHCS Trustees Recent Accomplishments and Honors:
Honoree: Leighton Newlin
Date: January 5, 2022
Elected: Princeton Councilmember
Honoree: Rev. Gregory Smith
Award: Ordination and Installation as Pastor
Date: November 20, 2021
Awarded By: Second Calvary Baptist Church, Hopewell, NJ
Honoree: Shirley Satterfield
Award: Community Engagement Award
Date: November 17, 2021
Awarded By: Princeton University and Pace Center for Civic Engagement
Honoree: Shirley A. Satterfield
Award: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award
Date: January 16, 2021
Awarded By: New Jersey Education Association (NJEA)