September is National Suicide Prevention Month

One of the ways SSBH has given back to the community is the involvement of awareness. The impacts of suicide in our society have hit home for many. To make a dent in the movement to provide understanding to Thurston County, SSBH has made it a point to provide suicide prevention awareness items for families who have lost a loved one to suicide. The items given to families affected are signs and symptom information flyers, pamphlets of options to help, community resources, stress balls, pens, notepads, etc. Every life lost is a losing position in this battle, but spreading the awareness for each loss can amplify the movement to gain an advantage in this battle. The knowledge of suicide awareness is so powerful and crucial to the campaign.


NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Health, NAMIWALKS is a fundraiser to raise awareness of mental health. NAMI walk consists of teams walking towards a 5k route. This year is a bit different since COVID-19 has reached the shores of the United States.

Why they walk?

  • Promote Awareness of mental health and reduce stigma by sharing stories and walking together
  • Fundraiser for NAMI’S mission of advocacy, education, support, and public Awareness.
  • Build a community to let people know they are not alone

At South Sound, we plan to raise as much as we can to help reach their goal of $275,000. Participate in some of the activities to help give back.

  • Casual Day Friday, Sept 4th and 11th $5/pp each day
  • Silent Bid for Front Row Parking – Receive one week of front row parking. The highest SEVEN bids will win one week of front row parking from September 21st- 25th 2020.
  • Flower/Candy Gram- Purchase a flower/candy for your “Work Battle Buddy” to show a co-worker appreciation with a message of encouragement.
  • Donate for Mental Health CHANGE- empty all your change from your cars, bags, pockets, and donate to support Mental Health Stigma Change!
  • Hydrate Challenge- during 64oz in 1-day cost to join $10

NAMIWALKS will go live on September 12th, hosting a virtual session for this event. Share what you are doing for NAMI walks on your favorite social media by posting a video or picture and hashtag #NotAlone and/or #MentalHealthForAll.

Tai Chi at SSBH

Tai Chi instructor Brian Weaver has brought another level of self-care to South Sound Behavioral Hospital patients. Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art practice known for its defense training, but also widely popular for its health benefits and meditation.

Tai Chi overcomes hardness with softness and is a full-body workout which improves balance, strength and flexibility, burns fat, and relaxes both the body and mind. We also explore self-defense techniques and the rich history and culture of Chinese martial arts. Styles and forms taught include the Yang style short and long forms, Chen Tai Chi, modern combined-style forms, Bagua, and others.

There are so many variations of forms in TaiChi which can conform to each person’s individual needs. Patients are able to utilize Tai Chi as a way to reconnect with oneself to find a balance.

September is National Recovery Month

Have You Assembled Your Recovery Support System?

When people talk about the future, the terms often used are journey, goals, work, career, plans, determination, responsibility, etc. Each person has their journey, and not all journeys travel in a straight line. Some people hit a bump in the road or have to take a detour, and for some the detour is recovery. Recovery is a personal journey with the goals of hope, empowerment, and determination; and for many people with mental health or substance abuse challenges, recovery is often possible.

Recovery could be physical, mental, or a combination of both, a personal journey that many have to overcome. One of the stabilizing factors for success in recovery is having a sound support system. The support system could consist of family members, friends, teachers, faith community members, neighbors, peers, a pet, or a co-worker. Whether the support member recognizes it or not, they are essential to a person in recovery in the way of ensuring they remain on the right road without deviations, as best as they can.

The support system is a vital and critical part in a person’s recovery journey, and the recovering person must trust the support person/people in their support system and feel comfortable talking about their experiences. These people are there for you when you need help with everyday situations, assist in making difficult decisions, and when in crisis.


Below are some ways to get started with building a support network:

  1. Stay Connected with friends and family.
  2. Utilize resources such as technology via email, text, phone, or video calls.
  3. Search for peer groups who are facing the same challenges.
  4. Recognize an opportunity to ask for help and then ask.
  5. Assemble a team of trusted professionals you can call on when in need.


Remember, recovery is a journey, not a race. Slow and steady is always the best course for any road!

Mental Health is not a Weakness

Within the communities of minorities and those who are marginalized, mental health is often considered a weakness. To receive treatment was kept quiet or even frowned upon in BIPOC communities. Since 2008 it has become apparent that there are mental health concerns for minority and marginalized communities. To be more specific, mental health concerns and treatment in Black, indigenous people of color communities receive less attention and treatment. The lack of support for mental health care in BIPOC communities is a problem, so what is the next move?


In taking action to address the issue of mental health for BIPOC communities, it is wise to recall many have lived experiences with trauma in care systems. Although emotional and physical trauma has occurred in years past, it is still very relevant to many. Such historical trauma includes racism, “conversion therapy,” and experimental procedures. Due to these experiences, it may deter people from accessing care or treatment as their lingering fear seems so closer than history says it is.


By standing together to focus on assisting the change of inequality and stigmas, access to care will be just that. The more the light shines on mental health and treatment, people will become more enlightened to seek the help and treatment they need. There will be less shame by their community or embarrassment when it comes to mental health care. Lack of access to treatment is prevalent for BIPOC communities. A system that has shown racism or discrimination and cultural incompetence among its providers make it difficult to access treatment. As stated in the American Psychological Association, 86% of psychologists in the U.S. are White.


Now that the mental health stigma is in continued attention, help is becoming less of a burden to obtain. Furthermore, it is the systemic concern within the healthcare settings that needs addressing until it is set right. There is a peak of treatment underway with positive attention on the matters of mental health treatment for BIPOC communities.

Minority Mental Health Month

In this tech-savvy world and through all the medical advancements the world has to offer, there are continued disparities in the mental health world. There are reports, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, that state racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S are less likely to have access to mental health services. The report also includes, minorities are more likely to receive a lower quality of care and use the emergency departments more often than other racial groups. Limited accessibility to quality mental health care ultimately results in poor mental health outcomes such as suicidal ideations and attempts.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

  • In 2017, 41.5% of youth ages 12-17 received care for a major depressive episode, but only 35.1% of black youth and 32.7% of Hispanic youth received treatment for their condition.
  • Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic group.
  • In 2017, 13.3% of youth ages 12-17 had at least one depressive episode, but that number was higher among American Indian and Alaska Native youth at 16.3% and among Hispanic youth at 13.8%.

In 2017, 18.9% of adults (46.6 million people) had a mental illness. That rate was higher among people of two or more races at 28.6%, non-Hispanic whites at 20.4%, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders at 19.4%.

PTSD Awareness Month


Along with Pride and Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, June is also PTSD Awareness Month.


Have you ever thought about how many people are affected by PTSD? 


It may not just be the person diagnosed with it, but loved ones are also affected by the symptoms of PTSD. Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don’t get the help they need. There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with PTSD. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Making it know that effective PTSD treatments are available. 


Those who have PTSD—whether they are veterans or someone who has a history of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—need to know that treatments really do work.


To learn more about PTSD visit the National Center for PTSD


If you are someone you love is suffering from PTSD, please give us a call to schedule an assessment 24/7. Treatment is only one phone call away.

June is Pride Month

June is Pride Month! It is a time when we can recognize LGBTQ communities to show love and embrace differences and exuberate self-pride. This year may feel different because of COVID-19 restrictions of large scale events and physical distancing. Despite the obstacles, everyone can still participate and encourage others on LGBTQ pride.

Here are a few ways you can #BeTheDifference this Pride Month.

  1. Attend a virtual celebration. Virtual celebrations are happening throughout the month. There are many to choose from or you can start your own.
  2. Practice self-care. According to the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) curriculum, self-care is an important way to take care of your mental health and well-being and will give you the ability to better support those around you. Take small steps while at home this month to practice self-love and self-care while connecting with your family and friends.
  3. Connect with loved ones. Communication with loved ones via phone calls, text messages, video chats and social media can make the difference.

Together celebrating Pride Month and embracing diversity, acceptance and love can make a difference.


Share and help spread the word.

#BeTheDifference During Pride Month

June is Men’s Mental Health Month

In the modern world, today, men are groomed to withhold their feelings. It is socially accepted/normal for a man not to show their emotions, let alone talk about them. So, the understanding of the “why” is apparent. The National Institute of Mental Health performed a study and found that men are less likely to talk about their feelings than women. The results of not articulating their emotions can cause some men to cope with their feelings with physical aggression, drugs, or alcohol. The National Institute of Mental health states, “over 75 percent of suicide victims in the United States were men.”

Suicide rates are the highest among the elderly male population of 85 years and older. Not too far behind, numbers are climbing amongst other groups of men with gender disparities and sexual orientation. The five major mental health illnesses affecting men are depression, anxiety, psychosis and schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and eating disorders. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

It is socially healthy to seek help when help is needed. Self Care also includes seeking medical or mental health assistance when necessary. June is Men’s Mental Health Month all month long. If the thought of mental health services never existed, now is the time to think about it and take a step towards a healthier life.

Additional Resources

How to Cope with Grief

Do you know what the five stages of grief and loss are?

  1. Denial and isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance.

Not everyone feels every single stage, nor does it go in order.

To mourn can be a response to one’s terminal illness, the loss of a close relationship, or to the death of a valued being, human, or animal.

It’s okay to feel what you are feeling. It won’t last forever.


Here are seven ways to help cope:

  1. Awkward attempts from friends to console you may happen and thank them and let them know it’s natural to feel the way you do.
  2. Self-care is essential, so go for a walk, eat healthily, and get a good night’s rest.
  3. Focus on the good things around you.
  4. Understand your limits and know its okay to take breaks when needed. But return to the task as many times as is necessary to complete it.
  5. Sometimes helping others will help you. Try volunteering for something you feel passionate about to occupy your time.
  6. Need more support? Join a grieving support group to know you are not alone in this.
  7. The most important part of all the steps is to remember to be kind and love yourself.


Feeling Grief Means Being Alive: 7 Tips to Help


By SSBH Staff