Welcome to Westport Health Notes, a monthly column from the Westport Board of Health (BOH). The goal is to share information with our community about local issues and projects, public health alerts, …
Welcome to Westport Health Notes, a monthly column from the Westport Board of Health (BOH). The goal is to share information with our community about local issues and projects, public health alerts, and even facts about the scope of responsibility that local boards of health manage.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and once again the BOH will sponsor events that educate our community about this important public health issue. We can move forward together for mental health by increasing our understanding of some of the challenges experienced by our youth, families, and ourselves. It is an opportunity to learn how to provide support, and access help when needed.
On Monday, May 8, I will be presenting “Helping and Supporting Youth: Mental Health First Aid” along with Westport Middle-High School Adjustment Counselors Mary-Jo Medeiros LSW, Jennifer Borelli LMHC, and Shawn Thomas LMHC. Special guest Marisa da Silva, a student from Dartmouth Middle School, will also speak. This important event will address ways to recognize and respond to youth when they experience an emotional challenge. Resources will also be identified to help youth and adults when experiencing a mental health crisis. This event is free and open to all adults and middle and high school students.
On Tuesday, May 16, “Promoting Parents and Infant Emotional Well-being: Perinatal and Postpartum Support” will be presented by pediatrician Dr. Michael Yogman, former Chair of the Massachusetts Child Mental Health Task Force and Gubernatorial appointee to the Massachusetts Postpartum Depression Commission. He will be joined by the director of the Cape and Islands Maternal Depression Task Force, Kerry McCarthy LICSW, who will share local resources to support mothers experiencing postpartum anxiety and depression. This event is open to all adults.
Both the May 8 and May 16 events will be held at the new Middle-High School in the auditorium at 400 Old County Road beginning at 6:30 pm.
On Saturday, May 13, the Director of the Heron Center for the Human Spirit, Jessica Howard, will join me as we present “Stress Less: Managing Self and Self Care.” There will be an open discussion about managing stress and Jessica will guide participants through a practice of meditation and gentle yoga. Please bring your own mat. There will be standing and chair options as well. This will be held at the Town Hall ANNEX gym from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. This event is free and open to all adults and teens.
Early intervention is key in preventing a mental health crisis or tragedy. All these events are meant to educate and increase awareness of emotional challenges others, and us, may be facing. It is an opportunity for open discussion regarding mental health issues and concerns, and a way to promote emotional wellbeing. The Board of Health welcomes you to join us in our continued efforts to help promote a healthy Westport community.
Amaral is a Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist and BOH member.