Empowering Minds Messenger 
Happy New Year! January is here and a new year is upon us. Empowering Minds is excited to bring in 2017 with wonderful clients, staff and partners that support and benefit from our services. We look forward to expanding our reach and services in the new year. Read about some  resolutions that work toward complete wellness, highlights from our awesome staff and client holiday parties and more in this month's newsletter.

As we enter a new year, here are 16 great ways to improve mental health in 2017 (Source: Huffington Post):

1. Talk to your doctor.

The first initial step of any health transformation is to consult a medical professional about the appropriate steps to take. General physicians are able to offer depression screenings and mental health consultations. They can then refer you to a clinician who is able to tailor to your specific needs.

2. Practice gratitude.

Life’s so much better when you’re acknowledging the bright side. Research suggests that expressing what you’re thankful for — from your dog to your favorite song on the radio — will improve your mental well-being

3. Try meditation.

Meditation is no longer some New Age fad that’s too intimidating to try. The practice has a host of health benefits, from better concentration to — yep — improved mental well-being. There are multiple methods of meditation that offer varying degrees of investment. That being said, the practice doesn’t have to be complicated: Try just setting aside five minutes for meditation when you wake up or before you go to bed. You’ll likely either start or end your day on a positive note.

4. Write in a journal.

Putting pen to paper can be a liberating and cathartic experience. Try keeping a journal or even just writing your anxieties and tossing them in the trash. A 2012 study found that writing what’s stressing you out and then physically throwing it away may help clear your mind. Experts also suggest writing when your worries are keeping you up at night.

5. Go to therapy.

Just like you’d see a doctor for a physical illnessthe same standard should apply to mental illness. There are multiple methods, from talk therapy to behavioral therapy, and a mental health professional can help you figure out the avenue that works best for you.

6. Exercise at least a few times per week.

Endorphins are magical. When you exercise, your brain releases the feel-good chemicals, giving you an instant mood boost. Additionally, try to take your workout outdoors. Research suggests group walks (yes, walking is considered exercise) in nature can help ease depressive symptoms

7. Lean on your support system.

After all, what are friends for? A 2011 study found that spending time with your BFF can reduce stress. Research also shows that social connection is imperative to mental health. Spend as much time as possible with your loved ones, whether it’s going to dinner or just watching a movie together.

8. Educate yourself.

About mental health and about the world around you, that is. Mental health conditions are much easier to manage when you know what’s really happening inside the mind. For example, did you know that some disorders may be genetic? Did you know that many conditions have physical symptoms? Learn as much as you can about what you’re dealing with or what your loved ones are experiencing.

9. Adopt a well-balanced diet.

Put good in, get good out. Eating well is key to overall health, including your mental well-being. Try incorporating fruits and vegetables in your diet more often along with brain-boosting foods like walnuts and spinach.

10. Listen to sad music.

Go on, sing (and listen to) the blues. Letting yourself indulge in melancholy melodies may actually help perk you up in the long run. Research shows sad songs may help you heal after a breakup. They also may prompt a few tears — which science says is good for you. One recent study found that a good cry can help boost your mood.

11. Travel.

Sometimes a change of perspective involves a change of scenery. There are many testimonies from people who have said their wanderlust has changed their life for the better. 

12. Sleep more.

Who doesn’t love an excuse to sleep in? A lack of sleep doesn’t just wreak havoc on your physical health, but it seriously messes with your mental health. Research shows sleep deprivation can make it difficult for someone to regulate their emotions. Poor sleep is also a sign of more serious mental health problems. Try going to bed just 10 minutes earlier every night and work your way up to a healthy amount of sleep.

13. Do a digital detox.

Social media is basically just a highlight reel of someone’s life — but that most likely doesn’t stop you from feeling a pang of envy every time someone posts a photo of their fabulous party, their new car or their shiny engagement ring.  Research suggests that people can feel depressive symptoms from scrolling Facebook, likely due to the internal social comparison that’s taking place. The antidote? A break. Ditch those devices every so often for the sake of your mental health. 

14. Express kindness toward someone else.

Want to feel good yourself? Make someone else feel good. Studies show that kindness can be cyclical. When you do a good deed for others, that makes them happier, which in turns make you happier, too. Even the smallest gesture can make a difference. Pay it forward every so often and reap the benefits.

15. Learn to say no.

It may be just two tiny letters, but this is your gentle reminder that “no” is a complete sentence. Burnout happens easily — in the office and outside of it. Make sure to spend some time alone and prioritize your well-being. If you don’t want to go to a party, don’t do it. If you feel overwhelmed by your workload, speak up. Self care is not selfish.

16. Talk to others about mental health.

You never know who you may be helping by opening up about your own experience. The only way our culture is going to be eradicated from the stigma of mental illness is if the conversation continues. You can be part of that change.

Here’s to 2017 being the year of you!


Santa was especially good to Empowering Minds clients for the holidays. Every child and adult received a toy or gift at the annual holiday party. And the lucky raffle winners left with wireless ear phones, laptops, tablets, flat screen TVs and hundreds of dollars in gift cards! Attendees also enjoyed arts and crafts, a live DJ, food, balloon twisting, face painting and pictures with Santa! Each year the experience gets richer. A special thank you to our organizers and sponsors. Your contributions helped to make the event a great success! Enjoy some of the pictures below.
EMRC clients at annual Holiday Party- 12/22/2016
Mother and son making reindeer antler crafts- 12/22/2016
Basking in all the fun! One of the event organizers, Ava Nishita-Hawkinson posing for a picture- 12/22/2016
Father knows best! EMRC clients waiting for their table to be called for dinner. - 12/22/2016
Big smile for the camera!- 12/22/2016
EMRC staff member and Santa-helper, Ms. Deborah Courtney taking a much-need break from her hard work in the North Pole.- 12/22/2016
EMRC client checking her raffle ticket to see if she's the next big winner- 12/22/2016
Someone's on her way to show mom what Santa brought her for Christmas- 12/22/2016
One of our big winners from the ultimate raffle!.This client won a flat screen TV!- 12/22/2016
Cupcakes and face painting bring joy to these two.- 12/22/2016
Our clients aren't the only ones who know how to have fun. EMRC employees ditched their desks for the dance floor at the annual Staff Holiday Party. This year's event was held December 9th at The Chesapeake on Charles Street. It was a night filled with music, laughs, prizes and of course dancing. Check out some of the moves in the pictures below.

Empowering Minds' offices will be closed in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 16th. We will reopen on Tuesday, January 17th.


Empowering Minds Resource Center is proud to announce there is currently  NO WAIT LIST at the agency. We work hard everyday to ensure referrals are quickly processed and clients are engaged by our staff and partnered therapists immediately.  We are ready, willing and able to accept new clients TODAY.

Empowering Minds recognizes  CYNTHIA BARTEE as the agency's Direct Service Coordinator of the month.   Cynthia was selected  in recognition of her dedication to her clients' success and marked improvement in documentation. We also want to recognize that she has become a full-time DSC as a result of her performance and interest in the position.

Congratulations and thank you for your hard work and dedication, Cynthia!

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