October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month - Dr. Amanda Aster-McKenna, Psy.D.
October 2022 Newsletter
It is so nice to connect with you again! Thank you to those who have offered encouragement and support in my journey of aligning with the greater community towards my personal and professional goal of spreading awareness and decreasing the stigma of mental illness through my monthly newsletters!
We are midway through October and this is a month filled with a focus on mental health education and depression awareness. That said, October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. This observance aims to provide education and awareness of the symptoms of depression, the multipath model of the etiology of depression (e.g., biological/biochemical, genetic, psychological, social, socio-cultural influences), gender/age differences in the expression of depression, and gold-standard, evidence-based treatment options for depression tailored to the individual’s own needs and circumstances. Depression is a highly treatable condition with the help of a mental health professional.
In 1990, Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Health Awareness Week, in recognition of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) efforts to raise awareness of mental illness. Mental Health Awareness Week followed this schedule of important topics:
Monday, 10/03/2022: Stigma
Tuesday, 10/04/2022: Medication [National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding]
Wednesday, 10/05/2022: Therapy
Thursday, 10/06/2022: Disclosing
Friday, 10/07/2022: Caregiving
Saturday, 10/08/2022: National Depression Screening Day
Monday, 10/10/2022: World Mental Health Day
Continue Spreading The Word!
Mental illness affects everyone, both directly and indirectly, through our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers that we see crossing the street. No one has to experience mental illness alone. We are doing an amazing job at spreading awareness of mental illness, decreasing the stigma of reaching out for help, and promoting the notion that mental illness is real, help is available, and recovery is possible, and, there is still work that needs to be done!
What can you do to help?
This is where our greater community can chime in:
What is one meaningful action that you can take today in an effort to decrease the stigma of mental illness and spread awareness?
Might you be willing to talk openly with a friend about your own mental health struggles? Or ask curiously and non-judgmentally about theirs?
Might you show compassion for those struggling with mental illness? Perhaps through maintaining eye contact as they share, and offering your gentle presence while resisting the urge to problem solve?
Might you choose empowerment over shame? Meaning, could you choose to own your own story, as unique and beautifully imperfect as it is, and refuse to let others’ negative/skewed perspective of mental illness impact your own narrative?
What might be one meaningful action that you can take today to increase your own mental health?
Could it be getting to sleep one hour earlier?
Could it be choosing to take the stairs vs. the elevator?
Could it be choosing to make amends with an estranged relative/friend?
I put my commitment to spreading awareness and decreasing the stigma of mental illness by participating in the 5th Annual Opioid Awareness Walk on Sunday, 10/15/2022. This initiative was held by the Essex Health and Wellness Recovery Center. The slogan for this event was #TakeStridesToSaveLives2022, and we walked to spread awareness of the danger of opioids and fentanyl; to thank those who are addressing the overdose pandemic; to remember those who have died from overdose; and to applaud those who have found the gift of recovery.
Until Next Time!
Thanks so much for your time today, and I cannot wait to connect again next month as I share some tips & tricks to tolerate the Holiday season!
If you would like to sign up for my monthly newsletter, please email DrAmandaAster@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list.
*Peace, Love, & Fierce Acceptance*
Dr. Amanda Aster-McKenna, Psy.D.
NJ Licensed Psychologist #5888, Private Practice
Adjunct Professor, Kean University, Department of Advanced Studies in Psychology
Manager, New York City Chapter of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
Board Member, Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris