This is My Brave – Mental Health Month 2018

Focus on Fitness for your Mind and Body

This year’s May is Mental Health Month campaign is meant to educate and inform you about how eating healthy foods, gut health, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you healthy all around. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as help control physical problems like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. A healthy lifestyle also plays a big role in helping people recover from these conditions.


Your physical and emotional health depends so much on how rested you are. Sleep is fundamental to a healthy mind and body – getting a good night sleep can make a huge difference in your overall health. Sleep helps the body to re-energize its cells. It also increases the amount of space between brain cells to allow fluid to flow and clear away toxins.

Sleep plays a role in our…

  • moods
  • ability to learn and make memories
  • the health of our organs
  • how well our immune system works
  • appetite, metabolism, and hormone release.


Staying active can benefit so many aspects of your health and can even prevent physical and mental health symptoms from worsening. It’s important to incorporate exercise daily to ensure your body and you mind are healthy. According to research, exercising just 1 hour a week is related to lower levels of mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders. One study found exercise had similar effects as cognitive behavioral therapy in reducing symptoms for people living with anxiety.

Exercise increases a variety of substances important for brain function:

  • BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) is a protein that creates and protects neurons in the brain, helps send messages between neurons, and controls depression-like behaviors
  • Endorphins are chemicals released to reduce stress or pain and increase pleasure
  • Serotonin is a chemical that transmits messages about appetite, sleep, and moods like anxiety and depression
  • Dopamine helps control movement and the body’s reward response system, and affects mental health issues like depression, schizophrenia, and psychosis
  • Glutamate and GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid) regulate the brain’s ability to process visual information, control heart rate, and control emotions and clear thinking


No one likes to be stressed out – especially when we know it can be linked to poor health. Learning how to manage stress can be a small change with a big positive impact on your physical and mental health. Stress is a normal part of life. You can feel stress in your body when you have too much to do or you aren’t getting enough sleep. You can also feel stress when you worry about things like your job, money, relationships, or friends and family. Stress comes and goes pretty quickly, allowing the body to return to normal, healthy functioning.

When stress doesn’t let up:

  • Cells in your immune system can cause inflammation, reducing the body’s ability to fight viruses from HIV to a common cold
  • Your skin can develop acne and other issues
  • Your muscles will tense and may ache
  • You can feel nauseous, stomach pain, and heartburn
  • You may have diarrhea, constipation, or other digestive issues
  • Women might have Irregular or painful periods
  • Your appetite and weight can fluctuate

These are just a few examples of how simple physical and behavioral health issues affect each other and, therefore, your overall health, and may lead to worse or chronic problems. For more information on how you can change your exercise, sleep, and stress for the better, visit

this is my brave: THE SHOW—Charlotte


Promise Resource Network will host and produce the first This Is My Brave (TIMB) performance in North Carolina on May 19, 2018, from 4-6 p.m., Warehouse 242, 2307 Wilkinson Blvd., Charlotte, NC.

Productions have been occurring all over the country and abroad, creating a social movement to end mental health stigma and celebrate lived recovery. In conjunction with National Mental Health Awareness Month, Promise Resource Network is debuting this inspiring evening of storytelling featuring people sharing their stories of overcoming mental illness through creative expression such as essay, poetry, comedy, and music—all aimed at ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

The heart and power of this evening have made This Is My Brave® the leading platform for individuals with lived experience to share their stories of living successful lives despite a diagnosis of a mental illness. The show’s success has been featured by The Oprah Magazine and The Washington Post, to name a few highlights. As the leading organization and Charlotte-Mecklenburg community partner for peer-driven mental health recovery, TIMB is a perfect collaborating partner for sharing this incredibly relevant message and awareness.

Enrollee Navigator – What is Whole Person Integrated Care?

Whole Person Integrated Care is the integration of medical, behavioral, and public health approaches to care for the whole person. The Whole Person Integrated Care model expands integrated care beyond the health care sector to include the social determinants of health, or the conditions in the places where you live, learn, work, and play. By tackling all the conditions that impact on your overall health, we can improve population health, reduce health disparities, advance health equity, and optimize public and private resources.

Integrated Care means most of your health needs can be met at one location, during one appointment. Scheduling an appointment to see your health care provider can be stressful. Often, we are forced to take the only available opening, usually weeks down the road, which means we must make our typical schedule fit around this appointment. We need to make sure we can get the time off at work. We must plan to miss work if we don’t have vacation or sick pay benefits. We need to arrange transportation to and from the appointment. And we need to make sure that someone takes care of the kids after they get off the bus. What makes things worse, we go through this for each of the professionals we see. We need an appointment for a therapist, and one for our general doctor, and one for the psychiatrist, and then one for our physical health specialist…

Now, imagine talking to your doctor about your high blood pressure, who then connects you to a behavioral health specialist in the building and shares his concerns about your health with you and the specialist. Then imagine that you work together to identify issues in your life that can be contributing to your high blood pressure, such as financial stress and anxiety. Again, working as a team, the specialist connects you with the in-house community navigator, an individual that actively supports you in obtaining assistance through community resources that can help you relieve some of your key financial stressors like paying utility bills and child care. This is the integration of services making the whole you well, from treating you to helping you reduce challenges that stand in the way of your health and wellness. That’s the type of community health we envision.

Learn more about the Whole Person Integrated Care Model Partners is implementing.

In the Community 

Operation Medicine Drop: Drug Take-Back Event

Bring unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medicines to Walmart, 2415 Springs Rd NE, Hickory, NC, on Friday, May 18, 2018, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, contact Josh Randolph, St. Stephens Fire Dept., at 828-256-2375. You can find a TAKE-BACK EVENT near you at

Hickory Brain Injury Support Group

During May’s meeting the group will be watching a presentation by J. Lynne Mann, MA, R. Psych, titled “Psychological Recovery After Brain Injury: The Importance of Attitude and The Self in Recovery.”  Afterwards, the group will discuss methods to let our attitude help our own recovery. The meeting is on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 6 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, 311 3rd Ave. NE, Hickory, NC. For more information, contact Travis Glass at (828) 781-0778 or

Peer Support Learning Coalition: Peers to Pearls

Join Certified Peer Support Specialist/trainer, Patty Schaeffer, at the June gathering of “Peers to Pearls” – a new learning coalition for NC Peer Support Specialists (PSS)! The meeting is on Saturday, June 2, 2018, from 1:30-3:30 p.m., at Infinite Beginnings, 526 East Main Street, Lincolnton, NC. This free gathering will focus on effectively building PSS skills, including motivational strategies and techniques, problem solving, and critical thinking. Attendees will receive training to enhance their employment opportunities and navigate the responsibilities of a Peer Support Specialist. Coffee, snacks, and water will also be provided. For more information, or to register online, visit

2018 Spring Geriatric Care Conference: End of Life Choices

Do people know what you want for your End of Life choices? Partners Geriatric and Adult Mental Health Specialty Team, Centralina Area Agency on Aging Ombudsman Program, and Morningside Assisted Living are hosting a geriatric care conference on Thursday, June 7, 2018, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., at Partners Behavioral Health Management, 901 S. New Hope Rd., Gastonia, NC. The conference will help you understand the choices you can control at the end of your life, what hospice’s role is, your residents’ rights, and addressing the opioid crisis. The free includes 3 hours of ACH continuing education credits, breakfast and snacks sponsored by Morningside Assisted Living, handouts, and door prizes. Please, register online.

Applicant Information Meeting: Catawba Valley Habitat for Humanity

Habitat houses are affordable and built to be highly energy efficient and sustainable. For an average house payment of $450/month (including escrow) hard working families can get a new house with all new appliances and even a lawnmower. Habitat is currently building off Falling Creek Road in the Northstone development. Do you want to be a homeowner? Habitat will be having an Applicant Information Meeting on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, with a choice of two times: 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., at the St. Stephen’s Library, 3225 Springs Rd. NE, Hickory, NC. Call 828-328-4663, Ext. 310, to reserve a seat.

Overview of Personal Outcome Measures

Personal Outcome Measures® are a tool developed by the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) to ensure supports and services are truly person-centered. In a Personal Outcome Measures® interview, 21 indicators are used to understand the presence, importance and achievement of outcomes, involving choice, health, safety, social capital, relationships, rights, goals, dreams, employment, and more. This overview will provide a basic understanding of the Personal Outcome Measures® as Partners BHM prepares to use them in planning.

Three opportunities to attend:

  • Tuesday, June 5th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Partners’ Gastonia Corporate Office (event link)
  • Tuesday, June 12th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Partners’ Hickory Regional Office (event link)
  • Tuesday, June 19th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Partners’ Elkin Regional Office (event link)

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 3 – Issue 20
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