Nourishing Your Mental Health This May


Photo by Aubrey Hoffert

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, KenCrest recognizes the need for therapy supports for those with an IDD.

By Dr. Autumn Dae Miller (she/her)

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and according to Mental Health America (2023), 21 percent of adults — over 50 million individuals — are experiencing mental illness. About 55 percent, or 28 million people, do not receive mental health treatment, and over 16 percent of youth 12-17 (over 4 million kids) experienced a major depressive episode within the year. Over 60 percent of those children could not receive mental health treatment.

It is no longer acceptable to just be aware of mental health. It’s time to shift awareness to advocacy and action steps.

If you have a mind, you have mental health needs! Some have diagnoses or crises that need more support than others. How and what support we require depends on the level of need we are experiencing at THIS MOMENT and how we respond to specific treatments.

Consider the following mental health supports to better your mind:

    • Talk Therapy: This includes individual, couples, or family therapy. This is best utilized when someone has access to thoughts and feelings and can communicate them. This may seem simple, but many trauma survivors recognize that experiences occurred before they had words to express themselves with clarity.

    • Creative Arts Therapy: These therapies use music, movement/dance, drawing, painting, play, and more. These forms of support are not just for children and those without speech; they are excellent alternatives to talk therapy for anyone.

    • Animal-based therapies: If you have ever cried around a pet, then you know animals respond to our feelings. If you are hesitant about animal therapy, start small with a cat or goat yoga class. See how much joy some fuzzy critters can bring to your day.

    • Brain-Body therapies: Try bilateral stimulation or Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), biofeedback, neurofeedback, and other iterations of processing therapies. These treatments are phenomenal for folks who feel stuck in their mental health journey or need to process trauma. One way to describe how these therapies work is by using a metaphor: your mind is a house, and the treatment is a personal organizer. You invite this person over, and they must make a huge mess before they can find places for everything. They don’t get rid of your stuff, but they use ways of repackaging and repurposing items so you can see everything. It takes time and can be exhausting trying to navigate the space while the work is being done, but ultimately, you can see all the rooms in your house with more clarity and ease.

    • Medication support: There is ZERO shame in recognizing the need for supplements or prescription medication to assist with mental health. The most critical piece is not to assume that medicine alone will make mental health needs vanish. The point of medication is not to make behaviors disappear or delete a diagnosis. For example, when you take insulin, you don’t stop being diabetic. Insulin helps your body function so you can do other things to support your health. Medication for mental health support is similar; we still need to put in the time and energy to treat the underlying needs. It is also important to note that overmedication can have detrimental long-term effects. Sometimes people with behavioral health needs are overmedicated as a form of chemical restraint or sedation, which is not mental health treatment.

    • Body Work: Includes everything from nutritional counseling and exercising to massage therapy and reiki. The body holds memories, stress, and the capacity to help process mental health symptoms when they arise. A healthy body is correlated with a healthy mind, and don’t forget to support both!

These are just a few ways you can act toward mental wellness. The more we advocate for and normalize mental health support, the more lives we can save. You and your mental health matter, so KenCrest boasts its behavioral Health Supports & Services program to ensure the people supported to have access to behavior, sexuality, communication, and other therapies.

The Clinical Services program works directly with the people we support to create a comprehensive plan to support various areas. The services are available to all KenCrest PA adult programs, school districts, families, and any outside residential, day, or employment setting. Services are offered in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.

Want to learn more about KenCrest’s Behavioral Health Supports & Services? Click the link below!