Take Care of Yourself: Mental Health Action Day

may 20 is mental health action day
Rebecca A. Eckland

Jaysha Mone’t is currently a student in TMCC’s Business program. Her goal is to become a dual life coach and a certified personal trainer. “A business degree seemed like the right path for me because it covers everything I’ll need to know to be successful,” she said. Yet, Mone’t’s journey has not been an easy one: she came to TMCC through a partnership with Northern Nevada Literacy Council (NNLC), which she encountered when her family was placed in a local shelter last year. 

“NNLC was recommended to me because it was required that everyone under 18 is in school, or has graduated, to occupy the shelter. The Earn and Learn program allowed me to get my G.E.D., and now they are helping me to get my business COA in partnership with TMCC. I would never have been able to go to college of any sort without this support, and I am grateful,” she said. 

Although she is thriving now—and reported that her favorite classes are not only her business classes, but also include an English composition class—she nonetheless wants other students to attend to their mental health as well as their education. 

“I struggle with my mental health and it has affected my education,” she said. “To any other students who struggle with mental health, whether it is minor or severe, my advice would be simple: take care of yourself. Your education is important, but you can’t give your education your all if you’re not taking care of yourself.”

Steps for Self-Care You Can Do Every Day

Taking care of your mental health doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, most of it starts with creating healthy routines that support your body’s natural desire for health and wellness. With only a minimal time commitment, you can make a huge difference in how you feel by following these simple action steps that are supported by not only the TMCC Counseling Center, but by medical and other professionals.

  1. Get enough sleep. You’ve probably heard that most adults require at least 8 hours of sleep. The focus, however, should be on the quality as well as the quantity of sleep you’re getting each night. Set a specific time for you to go to bed and a specific time for you to wake. Not deviating from that schedule will teach your mind and body when it is time to rest and recharge. 
  2. Go screen-free for at least an hour each day. This is especially important after the year when online learning and working remotely enabled video conferencing to dominate many hours of the day. Schedule times when you are away from screens. Allow yourself to unplug completely, whether that means silencing your notifications or literally turning off your computer and your phone. 
  3. Go outside. As living creatures, we actually need sunshine and fresh air. Make sure to step outside each day, whether you take yourself on a walk or do some other form of exercise, or simply to feel the sun on your skin. Your mental health will thank you.
  4. Remember to breathe. While you might respond: “Well, of course I’m breathing, otherwise I wouldn’t be alive!” It may surprise you to learn that a common response to stress is to hold your breath or to start breathing shallow, rapid breaths. If you are feeling under pressure, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Begin to count slowly with each inhale and exhale, lengthening both of them. Even refocusing like this for five minutes can work wonders on your physical and mental health. 
  5. Give yourself a break. Even though studying for finals may compel you to spend hours in one place, any single study session that exceeds 90 consecutive minutes loses its effectiveness. Build in breaks to stand, stretch, to go outside, to meditate, to breathe. Not only will you retain more information that way, but you’ll also feel a lot better. 
  6. Find a supportive community. It’s OK to reach out for help when you need it. Having a solid support system of people who care about your wellbeing is vital for everyone’s mental health. This supportive community can be composed of friends and family, but you can also reach out to others, too, such as classmates, instructors and others on campus. You can also find additional supports through the online resource Lizard’s Lounge, which can be accessed on Canvas. If you need more in-depth support, the TMCC Counseling Center offers a free and anonymous mental health screening, which can also be a tool to get you started on the path to better mental well-being.

May 20 is Mental Health Action Day

Although every day should be a mental health day, May 20 is a national call of awareness to action for the importance of mental health. Several TMCC resources are coming together for a day-long celebration of mental health with on-campus, drop-in activities to support your on-going wellness.

At both the Dandini Campus and Meadowood Center, students will find TMCC Counselors ready to assist them with several hands-on activities that can help them to de-stress. These include: painting, beadwork and journaling. Additionally, students will be invited to create/take an art journal that can be another support of their mental health with suggested activities, such as collage exercises, creating affirmations, among several others.

There will also be drop-in counseling available at both locations from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. So, if you’ve been wanting to celebrate your mental wellness, or if you have been needing more support, this free event is open to anyone looking for tangible tools that can help you to take positive action steps in the direction of your own mental well-being. 

Mone’t knows firsthand the value of outside support. “Seek counseling if you need it, and build your support system,” she said.

Get some ARC²H Support

In addition to taking action on May 20 to support your mental health, maintaining your overall wellness is an ongoing journey. Starting Fall 2021, TMCC is offering a new resource for students that can support students in doing precisely that: at the Advocacy Resource Counseling Center Hub (or ARC²H), where students can access resources that include TMCC’s Victim’s Advocate, Counseling, the Career Hub as well as the Disability Resource Center. 

“The idea behind ARC²H is that students can come to one location and access all these resources,” said Joan Steinman, Executive Director of Retention and Support Services. “This way all the student needs to know is that they need help, and we can connect them with the resources that they need to succeed.” 

For students like Mone’t, whose immediate goals are “...to succeed in school, spend time with the people I love, and learn to put myself first,” ARC²H brings all the pieces together to support students in a meaningful way. 

“I am abundantly grateful to be a student of TMCC. I’ve had many opportunities in this life, and this is one that I have been the most positively impacted by. Without TMCC and NNLC’s Learn and Earn program, I may not have been able to work toward my dreams, and for that I am eternally grateful,” said Mone’t.

In person and virtual ARC²H are available at all TMCC campus locations:

  • Dandini Campus, RDMT 115
  • Pennington Applied Technology Center, EDSN 119
  • Meadowood Center, MDWN 205
  • Pennington Health Science Center, HSC 123 (virtual only)

For more information about Mental Health Day or support services offered by the Counseling Center, contact their office at 775-673-7060.