By Jillian Amodio
Moms for Mental Health
The most valuable tool we can have in our mental health tool kit is a solid support system. While there is still more work to be done to remove the stigma of mental health and making mental health treatments more accessible, hope remains that we are heading in the right direction. People are starting to open up, perceptions are starting to shift, and resources are becoming more steadily available. Without a support system of people one can trust and rely on, an already difficult battle toward achieving mental wellness can seem all the more unobtainable.
As a mom myself, I noticed quite often that people in my inner circle, those I know on social media, from around the neighborhood and through my children, were often struggling with emotional turmoil and other mental health issues. Even if someone did share details of these struggles, there was often a hint of shame or fear. I realized that there was a great need for a safe space for people to discuss openly the struggles they themselves, or loved ones, may have with mental health. The worst thing anyone can do when going through emotional hardships or mental health struggles is to remain silent and suffer alone. Those feelings only become amplified through isolation.
But where does one go to discuss such sensitive and personal topics? For some, therapy is inaccessible whether financially or logistically. Others are not ready to take that leap or they have no idea where to begin in the search. Some people simply need someone to vent to, helping them realize, “Hey! I’m not alone.”
Along with local moms and mental health professionals, I have helped launch Moms For Mental Health, an online community for non-judgmental communication and support. In less than two weeks, the group blossomed to more than 300 members. We meet monthly for in-person meetups at Cape Wellness Studio in Cape St. Claire and host teen talks where youth can get answers to tough questions and receive support and guidance from peers and parents. We host weekly online check-in chats to update members on how everyone is doing, and we offer information on how to seek mental health services.
When we began compiling a lending library made up of self-help and inspirational titles, we were met with incredible support from the local community. In only two days, we received more than $300 in new books from an Amazon wish list, as well as numerous other used books.
Perhaps the greatest gift this group has brought to all who have joined is the understanding that we don’t have to do this life alone. We are a group of women who are all dealing with something, but we all have one another to rely on for love, acceptance and support. As one member said, “Moms for Mental Health gives me a safe place where I don’t feel the societal pressure to do it all. It’s a constant reminder that I’m not alone and have a support network to catch me if I fall.” As moms especially, we always talk about the need for a tribe or village of support and guidance, and for many, this group feels like the start of that village.
For more information, find our Facebook group, Moms for Mental Health, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.