About the MHANJ Bell: As we all navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Mental Health Association in New Jersey is publishing our Bell email newsletter once per week. Please check our website and social media often for updates and additional information.
MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH
May 8, 2020
Key Links
Coping with Emotions
During and After the
COVID-19 Pandemic

I t can be easy for all of us to get caught up in our emotions. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with, such as anger, disappointment or grief; they just react. Research shows that taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. This may be especially valuable during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Sometimes there are societal pressures, like social distancing, that compound tense family systems or work situations. People may be encouraged to shut down their emotions, hearing statements like, "Just live with it," “Big girls don’t cry,” or “Man up.” These suggestions can often be harmful, not helpful. Everyone has emotions – they are part of the human experience – and you have every right to feel them, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socio-economic status, race, political affiliation or religion.

Most of us have heard the term “bottling up your feelings” before. When we try to push feelings aside without addressing them, they can build strength and make us more likely to “explode” at some point in the future. Many experts recommend that we process emotions as soon as possible. 

It is often productive to talk about feelings with someone you trust. Consider the strength of your emotions and analyze how you label them. While they can be referenced through simple terms, such as bad, sad, mad or good, diving a bit deeper and using more descriptive words may help get to the root of the issue. For instance, sometimes a person might say they are angry when what they are really experiencing is something that could be considered less severe, like annoyance.

If you are taking steps to be more in touch with your feelings, but are having trouble dealing with them, or if you are struggling with emotional issues related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, please call New Jersey Mental Health Cares at 866-202-HELP(4357). They are here to help.

Sources: Mental Health America, Sources 1https://learnersdictionary.com/3000-words/topic/emotions-vocabulary-english 2Kashdan, T. B., Barrett, L. F., McKnight, P. E. (2015). Unpacking Emotion Differentiation: Transforming Unpleasant Experience by Perceiving Distinctions in Negativity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(1), 10–16. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721414550708 3Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S. E., Reyes, M. R., & Salovey, P. (2012). Enhancing academic performance and social and emotional competence with the RULER feeling words curriculum. Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 218–224.
Children's Mental Health Awareness
Children and Trauma
As part of Mental Health Awareness Month and National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day earlier this week, the MHANJ joins many other organizations in raising awareness of the significant role mental health plays in overall health and wellness. Children as well as adults may be experiencing psychological trauma or distress as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Click here for information from the National Institute of Mental Health about what we can all do to help children begin to recover from these types of experiences.
Children and Anxiety
Sometimes it's hard to tell how much social isolation is impacting our children during these challenging times. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "A nxiety may present as fear or worry, but can also make children irritable and angry. Anxiety symptoms can also include trouble sleeping, as well as physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or stomachaches. Some anxious children keep their worries to themselves and, thus, the symptoms can be missed." Click here to read more.
Mental Health Highlights
MHANJ is Here for You
Emotional support and advocacy for individuals and families coping with behavioral health challenges is available through NJ Mental Health Cares call line at 866-202-HELP, and our county offices:
MHANJ in Ocean County 732-244-0940 MHANJ in Union County 908-810-1001

Did You Miss Giving Tuesday?
There's Still Time to Give
On Tuesday, May 5, the MHANJ joined many other non-profit organizations across the globe in #GivingTuesdayNow, a day of giving and unity set up as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. If you missed the opportunity to contribute, there's still time. Please click the button below to participate today. Your donation of any amount will make a difference.
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Suggestions?
If you have any suggestions on how the MHANJ can serve the community,
or comments on our services please send them to  info@mhanj.org .
Mental Health Association in New Jersey | 800-367-8850 | info@mhanj.org