Tag Archives: Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

For centuries, “mental illness” was a taboo subject — ignored, covered up or lied about.

Only recently has it come out of the shadows. We now talk about “mental health,” more than “mental illness.” It’s as vital to our lives as physical health.

Of course, there’s still a long way to go.

Westport Together — a partnership between the town’s Department of Human Services, Positive Directions, and the Westport Public Schools and PTAs — has put together a comprehensive calendar of events.

Every day this month, a virtual event focuses on some aspect of mental health. Highlights include:

  • “Adolescent Mental Health in 2021: Challenges and Caregiver Strategies” (May 12, 6:30 p.m.) Dr. Aaron Weiner discusses how to tell what’s normal, what’s a ore significant mental health concern, and how parents can support their kids. Click here to register.
  • Mental health for elementary school youngsters (May 13, 7 p.m.) For children and their trusted adults, “Gizmo’s Pawsome Guide” is a story-time read-along that introduces the topic in an accessible way, and offers tips and guidelines for coping. Click here to register.
  • “If They Had Known” (May 10, 7 p.m.), a documentary about the dangers of combining prescription drugs and alcohol. Email info@positivedirections.org for the Zoom link.
  • LifeLines — Melissa Bernstein’s new project — offers free daily workshops. Ranging from “Breaking Up With Your Inner Critic” to “Tracing Your Triggers,” they help people feel seen, heard and appreciated. Click here for more information.

Other events range from suicide prevention and raising children during the pandemic to shattering the myth of mental illness and “laughing yoga.” Click here for the full monthly calendar.

LifeLines offers a different activity every day this month.

Westport Together also compiled a list of resources for Westporters dealing with isolation, stress, depression, substance use or other issues. It includes:

All Ages

Westport Department of Human Services: Information and help with mental health referrals, food and financial assistance; 203-341-1050.

WestportTogether.org: Subscribe to email lisit for youth and family resources.

Youth

Westport Youth Services Bureau: Casework, referrals, mentoring; 203-341-1150.

Teen Talk: Free counseling provided by Kids in Crisis at school or through hotline; 203-341-1285 (school-based counselor) or 203-661-1911 (hotline).

Liberation Programs: Free drug and alcohol counseling at Staples High School; 203-399-3520.

Toquet Hall: Student-run activities center; 203-341-1155.

Resources are available for anyone who feels isolated.

Older adults

Senior Center: Programs and support; 203-341-5099.

Westport Weston Health District: Homebound visits, safety checks; 203-227-9571.

Behavioral Health

Positive Directions: Mental health and substance use counseling, prevention, support groups; 203-227-7644.

TurningPointCT.org: Online options and peer support by and for teens and young adults; based in Westport at Positive Directions.

NAMI: Support groups and training programs by and for families with a loved one with mental illness.

The Hub: Regional options for treatment and support.

(Hat tip: Elaine Daignault)

Roundup: Mental Health, Staples Graduation, Dream Spa,

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Since going public earlier this year about her lifelong battle with existential anguish and depression, Melissa Bernstein has shined an important light on mental health.

Her book Lifelines, and digital support community of the same name, has raised awareness even further.

Now, throughout May — which is Mental Health Awareness Month — LifeLines is hosting free activities and workshops. There’s a different one each day.

The goal is to help people “dive inward and discover their true selves,” LifeLines says. They range from “Breaking Up With Your Inner Circle” to “Tracing Your Triggers.” Click here for the full schedule.

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Plans have been announced for Staples High School’s graduation. It will be … outdoors.

“Pomp and Circumstance” will ring out at the football stadium, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 17 (rain date: June 18). All seniors will be together, and will be allotted 2 guests each. The ceremony will be livestreamed, for family and friends who cannot attend.

This is the first time the football stadium has been used for graduation in 27 years. The previous 26 events were held in the fieldhouse. Last year’s graduation was a “drive-by,” with each graduate having a special moment in front of the school.

Staples High School graduates gather outside the fieldhouse in 2018, before the ceremony. This year they’ll march instead to the right, onto the football field.

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This past year has been a tough one for everyone. Moms — as they so often do — have borne much of the brunt of the pandemic.

So Dream Spa & Salon wants this Mother’s Day to be extra special.

They’re giving away 3 prizes to “superhero” moms: a “wakeup call” ($375 value), “dream essentials” ($180), and “dream feet pedi” ($65).

To win a “dreamy” gift for your mom (or spouse), follow @dreamspasalon on Instagram. All the details are there.

Winners will be announced (of course) on Mother’s Day. Which — as you certainly better know — is Sunday, May 9.

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The Westport Domestic Violence Task Force just completed a very successful collection for baby items, for 2 area safe houses and local clients.

Westporters donated 4 strollers, 7 car seats, 3 booster seats, multiple car seat bases, 5 cases of formula, over a dozen cases of diapers, countless packages of wipes, baby washes, new baby clothing, 18 bottles, and over $500 in cash.

The Task Force thanks the entire community, and the men and women of the Westport Police Department, who helped collect and transport the donations.

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How strong were yesterday’s winds?

This was the scene this morning at Compo Beach. Let’s hope no one was inside at the time.

(Photo/Les Dinkin)

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Jazz returns to MoCA Westport in a big way.

Talent from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight kicks off Friday, May 14 (7 p.m.), with pianist/composer Isaiah J. Thompson. The young artist leads his jazz quartet in what MoCA promises will be a “powerful, mind-blowing performance.”

On May 28, The Alexa Tarantino Quartet debuts music from their new album “Firefly.” Their performance last summer sold out.

A third Lincoln Center artist will perform later this summer, followed by the Samara Joy Ensemble on August 20.

Tickets are available in a variety of formats, including individual concert tickets, a 4-concert Jazz Package, or a Season Pass with all 13 Music at MoCA concerts. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Isaiah Thompson

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As Westport opens up, the May issue of Westport Magazine examines “the good life.”

Stories include personal reflections on Christopher Plummer; Dave Briggs on Lou Gehrig Day; Center Stage producer Andrew Wilk; super-organizer Meredith Triscott; home design shops; creating the perfect patio, and the advantages of private aviation.

Westport Magazine is available at Barnes & Noble, Balducci’s, Whole Foods and CVS.

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And finally … it’s the 1st of May, so …