City and Independence Blue Cross Launch #MindPHL Together Campaign to Connect Public to Mental Health Resources

Campaign Aims to Reduce Stigma, Encourage Philadelphians to Seek Help Today Mayor Jim Kenney announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign which builds on national Mental Health Awareness Month. The #mindPHL Together campaign, sponsored by the City of Philadelphia and Independence Blue Cross, aims to: Bring an improved community understanding of mental health and well-being; Reduce the stigma associated with needing mental health support; Encourage Philadelphians to seek help for themselves and others; and Offer vital support needed by those impacted by mental health challenges. “Amid the heightened uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental well-being is more important than ever,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “During this unprecedented time, many of us are experiencing loss, anxiety, stress, or overwhelming sadness. I want to remind Philadelphians to be mindful, know you are not alone, and that it’s okay to seek help for these and other symptoms.” The campaign includes a new, easy-to-use website, MindPHLtogether.com, to make mental health resources more readily available to all Philadelphians. The site is a joint effort between the City’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and Independence Blue Cross. “As our region deals with the COVID-19 epidemic and all its consequences, many people are facing feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and isolation. It’s normal to feel that way,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, Independence Blue [...]

2021-01-28T23:07:32-05:00May 4th, 2020|Community|

Finding Peace in the Pandemic

by Laura Vega, DSW, LCSW In these times of intense stress, it is most difficult to find our peace and balance. We are experiencing unprecedented times with daily increases in the number of COVID-19 positive cases and the number of deaths. Color-coded tracking maps magnify the power of the virus’ transmission across our counties, states, and countries. In real time, we receive tweets and notifications of “hot zones” and alerts about increasing rates of transmission. In addition to the threats to our own health and the healthcare system, we are experiencing real economic loss and a hostile political climate. In these times of intense stress, it is most difficult to find our peace and balance. We all struggle with our need for control and predictability in times when the rules are changing daily. We must find our own personal balance of how much news we need to stay informed without inundating ourselves with fear and anxiety. How do we balance the mandate for social distancing with our need for human connection? Accommodate the need to protect our children with the responsibility to provide care and supplies for our aging parents? How do we balance the blessing of working remotely with the demands to teach and care for our children simultaneously? How do we process the loss of lives and panic [...]

2021-01-02T20:20:12-05:00April 28th, 2020|Community, Pandemic|

A Colorful Legacy: A Mural Arts Story

Author: Laure Biron, MSS, LSW, is the Porch Light Program Director for Mural Arts Philadelphia. Also a practicing psychotherapist, she has worked for Mural Arts since 2008, beginning in the Art Education department and working additionally in Restorative Justice, Special Projects, and currently, the Porch Light Program At Mural Arts, we believe that hands-on art-making provides a strong pathway for individual and community healing.  Our Porch Light program, a joint collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, focuses on achieving universal health and wellness among Philadelphians, especially those living with mental health issues or trauma. We do this by providing opportunities to contribute to meaningful works of public art. Alongside the mural-making workshops and paint days that have taken place across our city, a series of important conversations have been crafted for audiences around Philadelphia to talk about what barriers and disparities exist for their health.  How does bias and racism impact the health of our communities, and especially, for men and boys of color?  One shining example comes to mind. Colorful Legacy by Willis "Nomo" Humphrey & Keir Johnston. Photo by Steve Weinik. In 2015 Mural Arts Philadelphia Porch Light Program completed a critical project as part of our Signature Project series in West Philadelphia. Willis "Nomo" Humphrey and Kier Johnston worked [...]

2021-01-02T19:59:38-05:00May 13th, 2019|Community|

Impact of Gardening on Mental Health

This week we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate these holidays than by getting your hands dirty. Gardening engages you physically, mentally, and socially. Health benefits are numerous and you don’t need to live in the suburbs or the country to experience gardening and its benefits.  Gardening can positively impact a number of health outcomes, including: Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety Decrease in reported stress and mood disturbances Decrease in BMI Higher reported sense of community Increased physical activity Improved cognitive function Gardening has both immediate and long-term effects on health. For individuals with mental health conditions, horticultural therapy - using gardening as a means to facilitate dialogue and skill building - has shown promise for improving chronic and acute mental health conditions. People report feeling happier almost immediately when engaging in gardening. Over time, individuals lowered their BMI through physical activity and improved nutrition. One study identified improvements in depression, life satisfaction, and cognitive function continuing for 3 months after therapy. Earth Day and Arbor Day are great catalysts for encouraging us to spend more time in nature and trying out gardening as a hobby; but just how does gardening impact health? Connecting with nature   Nature has been shown to be restorative to our minds, cognitively and emotionally. Spending time [...]

2021-01-02T19:46:18-05:00April 24th, 2019|Anxiety, Community, Depression, Mental Health, Stress|
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