Although it will affect nearly everyone in their lifetime, mental illness still comes with a heavy stigma. Our goal, and the goal of the organizations on the following pages, is to help those who are struggling and for us all to recognize the warning signs.
In our annual Mental Health Resource Guide, learn more about mental health providers in central Arkansas who are available to assist you, your children, your friends or other loved ones.
Mental Health Resource Guide Spotlights
Conway Behavioral Health | Families, Inc. Counseling Services
But first, we spoke with Dr. Betty Everett — a clinical psychologist at the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute and director of the Center for Trauma Prevention, Recovery and Innovation — to gain some perspective on our mental health priorities during a global pandemic:
An important life value for now is that we have a choice. We can spend our energy, align our attitudes and intentions 'to build a swing' rather than ignite disruptions when we are acting from our fears.
Another is the importance of connection and enjoying this heart connection, supporting each other. As we physically distance from each other, we still need connections, meaningful social interactions. This helps us regulate ourselves, relationships and emotions.
Also important for this time is creativity. Creativity can spring out of allowing the quiet. Creativity allows us to shift from our anxiety, fear and loss, including our usual structure, into a more balanced 'wise mind' place where we can think and feel.
Creating new structure is a good thing and can be reassuring and helpful. Think about how you need to structure your day, your time. Perhaps this is a time to spend in regular meditation practice or yoga or other movement such as walking.
Dr. Everett also encourages reading the poem “To Build a Swing” by Hafiz, one of her favorites and one that has been top of mind in current circumstances.
Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually is important in this time of change, uncertainty and global loss. This helps you and helps you give to others from a centered place.
Lastly is the importance of attending to your values, your spirituality. I find if I can lean into trust and gratitude, my days flow better. Attention to your emotions and allowing is of great importance as we all have a lot of emotions coming in these times.
We are all learning to do things differently, moreso than usual. Creativity, connection, self-care and acceptance have the potential to help us gracefully get through, possibly grow and plan for our future, based on our values.