MLK Day: Personal Memories of the First Day of Service

By Iris Lozada In 1994, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was launched thanks largely to U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford Jr. of Pennsylvania and U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. Wofford was an attorney and civil rights activist. He was a Democratic politician who represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate from 1991 to 1995. He also was a special assistant to President John F. Kennedy and an adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. during the decade of struggle from Montgomery to Memphis. His “passion for getting people involved helped create John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps, Bill Clinton’s AmeriCorps and other service organizations and made him America’s volunteer in chief,” according to his 2019 obituary in The New York Times. It isn’t surprising that, given his strong interest in volunteerism and knowing what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for, he launched the campaign to make MLK Day into a day of service, what Wofford called “a day on, not a day off.” Todd Bernstein – Chief of Staff of Wofford’s Philadelphia office when the campaign was launched – supported those efforts. Bernstein is the founder and director of the annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. Today, Philadelphia continues to host the largest King Day of Service in the country, according to Global Citizens. I [...]

2022-01-03T13:22:35-05:00January 10th, 2022|Awareness, Community|

NDSD: A Yearly Event with a Daily Calling

Imagine a world where we can “call in sick” because our depression is worsening or because anxiety is peaking to a point of emotional and physical paralysis. A world where we can fearlessly acknowledge our mental health challenges and receive support rather than skepticism or judgment. In our society, we are afforded sick days to treat varying physical health conditions, but it is “invisible” pains that create hesitance. Mental health stigma promotes a falsehood that proof is needed to justify anguish. This year more than ever is important for centering our mental health needs. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly eight in 10 adults identified the coronavirus pandemic as a significant source of stress in their lives. Locally, we witness the daily weight of gun violence, poverty, systemic racism, and trauma. However, we can all contribute towards promoting mental wellness in big and small ways. Each year, National Depression Screening Day provides an opportunity to break stigma and recognize mental wellness matters. Behavioral health partners offer multiple sites to receive free behavioral screenings along with valuable resources and the support of trained professionals. We can use Oct. 7 as an opportunity to take a behavioral health screening, reach out to loved ones, or normalize mental health challenges, whether someone else’s or, most importantly, our own. Although this reflection [...]

2021-10-14T13:18:43-04:00October 7th, 2021|Awareness, Depression|

How to take care of your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

by Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka, Chief Medical Officer, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) These are stressful and uncertain times. The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is very sudden and can be confusing. This may provoke anxiety for many people. Those with pre-existing anxiety and other mental health conditions may be particularly at risk. Individuals and teams whose work bring them in contact with infected persons may experience stress and anxiety. Other groups at risk for increased stress include the elderly, those caring for sick or vulnerable persons, and those experiencing significant changes to work, travel, or family life. Regardless of status or work function, we can anticipate that all of us will at some point experience some increased stress. At times like this, it is important to take steps to promote mental wellness and resilience. DBHIDS aligns with SAMHSA, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association to make the following recommendations: Connect with people: Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom during social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. Make phone calls frequently, FaceTime, and text to stay connected.   Relax: Calm your body often by doing things that work for you—take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, pray, or engage in home-based [...]

2021-03-16T14:31:57-04:00March 20th, 2020|Anxiety, Awareness, Depression, Pandemic, Self-Help, Stress|

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is Dating Violence Awareness Month & 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of efforts to end Dating Violence. Enough is enough! Everyone deserves healthy relationships. We can influence change in how we treat our partners and how we respond to acts of abuse. Take ACTION and put an END to Dating Violence. Teen dating violence is remarkably common, yet it is rarely discussed. According to national statistics, 1 in 3 girls in the U.S. will experience some sort of dating violence, according to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Are You a Parent or Guardian of a Teen? Here are 4 tips to guide your conversation about Healthy Relationships: Be open – Allow your teen to express their views of what a healthy relationship looks like. Allow them to reflect without dismissing their views. Teach your teen the signs of an unhealthy relationship – Point out unhealthy behaviors, let them know that abuse comes in many forms and to be aware of the signs. Encourage your teen to talk to you or someone you trust – Relationship talk can be a taboo subject, it maybe a little uncomfortable for you and your teen to discuss. Ask someone that you and your teen trust to have this conversation. Offer resources – Connect your child to adolescent medicine. The physicians can talk to your [...]

2020-02-01T07:39:31-05:00February 1st, 2020|Awareness, Domestic Violence|
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