December 2020
The Holiday season looks different this year
This is a very different holiday season, ending a very different year. Many of our past December newsletters have centered on topics revolving around alcohol use during the holidays. While we continue to be very concerned on youth substance and alcohol use, this month we want to focus on maintaining your mental health during this season and beyond. We have some ideas for family fun, some ways to cope with our current stressful pandemic life, and some ways to uplift both yourself and others.
Press Pause
For many of us, the holidays are a time gatherings, parties, and fun times with friends and family. Many times, these celebrations involve alcohol.
We also know that the holidays can also be full of stress, anxiety and triggers for many people, and that alcohol use, drunk driving and other risky activities increase during the holiday season.
This year, in this time of incredible hardship, let's try to focus on more positive and healthy ways to cope. We've found a site to really help you and your family identify coping skills that will work.
The Press Pause hub puts tips, tools and videos that can help everyone try to regain balance in those times where we are feeling overwhelmed. These strategies offer different ways to manage difficult emotions like stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and hopelessness. The site shows simple, actionable steps that are easy--and even fun--to follow. Take care of yourself this season--that's a great gift you can give everyone in your life.

Take your holidays OUTSIDE
Need a quick mental health boost AND a way to get some time in with your family??
Head outside and spend time in nature—and if you can be moving-walking, running, biking and hopefully sledding, skiing, sledding soon-even better! Just going outside has been shown to improve mental health, especially anxiety.
It’s also a great way to strengthen family bonds, improve communication and boost physical health, and best of all, HAVE FUN!
Pigeon Creek is open from 7am to 10pm with 3 miles of lighted trails that you can walk/hike without snow and cross country ski/show shoe with snow. Click here for more information.
The Muskegon Luge Park is also open with lit trails from 5-8 pm for hiking until the snow comes--after that, you can also ski and snow shoe here for free. Find more information here.
Once the snow comes, don't forget all the great sledding hills in Ottawa County--they all have COVID 19 safety protocols in place, so this will be a great safe way for more fun outdoors!
OSAP Member Highlight:
Our SLIC Youth Coalition

High school students have had to constantly adjust and adapt over the last 10 months due to COVID. Their learning has changed drastically many times. They haven’t had their rites of passage such as prom and graduation, and even simpler things such as school lunch and driving to school. Yet, they remain resilient. They remain engaged despite the many obstacles they face. Let’s see how some local high school students are navigating COVID by providing education and awareness as part of SLIC.
Straight talk about mental health right now
With the holidays upon us, we need to acknowledge that this can be a tough time for many people in normal times, much less a pandemic. All of us, but especially our youth, need to know that everyone needs help and support at some point, and that it’s always okay to ask for help. In our age of screens, sometimes a website can help demonstrate this. The StayWell site, launched by DHHS, offers many resources in one place, including a crisis text line, a counseling number to call at any time and support groups that you can join virtually.
Take some time this season to make sure your family knows that asking for help is a sign of strength. It's one of those teachable moments when we can learn as much as we teach them.
Crisis Resources--available 365 days/year
If you feel like you are in a crisis, or that anyone in your family is in crisis, here are some important numbers:
  • 24 hour Ottawa County Hotlines: in Grand Haven: 616-842 HELP (4357); in Holland: **616-396-HELP(4357) all other areas 1-866-512 HELP(4357)
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Arbor Circle in Holland: 616-396-2301
  • Catholic Charities: 616- 796-9595
  • Wedgewood Christian Services: 616- 930-5004
  • Ottawa CMH: 616-392-1873
  • DHHS Warmline: 1-888-733-7753 10am-2am help for anxiety, depression, and trauma, staffed by peer support specialists.
  • AA meetings online:
  • NA meetings:
  • Alanon meetings:
  • Resource help:
  • Positive Options is ready to serve you if you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. It offers free pregnancy testing, options counseling and early ultrasound (upon eligibility). Visit or call a center near you. (Holland - 616 396-5840; Grand Haven - 616 842-7510; Allendale - 616 895-1893; Allegan - 269-686-7111)
Ottawa Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition
Contact Leigh Moerdyke at

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