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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…

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Diabetes and Mental Health

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country bring attention to the impact diabetes has on Americans - including the relationship between diabetes and depression. A day in the life Living with diabetes requires daily physical and emotional demands. The idea that diabetes can be managed simply by eating healthier and exercising more is a myth. Yes, eating nutritious foods and enjoying physical movement is good for the heart, soul, and for diabetes management; but there is so much more to living healthy with diabetes. It’s a daily balancing act between all the things that raise blood sugar and those that lower blood sugar, including food, medication, alcohol, physical activity, and stress. Not to mention hormones, sleep, illness, hydration, altitude, insulin gone bad, and so much more. People with diabetes have to constantly sort through mixed messages around food choices. They have to navigate insurance coverage…

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Mental Health at Work

Studies show that 1 in 5 employees have a mental health disorder, the most common being depression and anxiety. Because people often hide their problems at work, many of those who suffer never get the support and treatment that could significantly improve quality of life and job performance. To address this problem, it’s helpful to understand how mental health symptoms often present at work as compared to in other situations. For example, a coworker who is depressed may seem nervous, restless, or irritable, and complain of physical aches and pains. He or she may become passive, withdrawn, aimless, and unproductive. They also may be fatigued, partly as a result of the mood disorder or because they are having trouble sleeping at night. Depression may also impair judgment or cloud decision making. Anxiety has similar manifestations, including restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and excessive worrying. Employees may require constant reassurance about performance.…

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City Calls on Philadelphia to Take Online Pledge to “Check in” on those who Have the Holiday Blues

PHILADELPHIA – Starting today and throughout the holiday season, the city’s behavioral health department will be calling on Philadelphians to take a quick online pledge to “check in” on family and friends who are suffering from the holiday blues for reasons that range from losing a loved one to losing a job. Anyone can take the pledge, which encourages individuals to also be mindful of their own holiday wellness, at https://www.healthymindsphilly.org/en/mind-your-holidays through January 1, 2018. While the holiday season can be a joyous time of celebration, cheer and family fun for many, studies show that as many as 30 million Americans experience feelings of depression during the holidays. People who are spending the holidays alone while those around them gather with family and friends may be especially vulnerable. Experts say a phone call, text message, email, visit or invitation may help lift the spirits of a person who is troubled…

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