May is Mental Health Awareness month, and as New York can be one of the most emotionally challenging/stimulating/draining cities in the world, it’s especially important for us to take care of ourselves. And vital to remember that — just like on a rush hour train — you are never alone.
At least one in five adult New Yorkers experience a mental health disorder in any given year, and almost one in ten suffer from depression. These are not just adult issues —approximately 8% of New York City public high school students report attempting suicide.
This is alarming. And these frightening statistics don’t just frame the emotional baggage we carry; they also have a financial impact on the city — $14 billion are lost to productivity every year due to depression and substance misuse.
Unfortunately, mental health challenges are faced disproportionately by people of color and the LGBTQ community, both of which can be disproportionately underserved when it comes to services. Thankfully there’s a solution, and it isn’t necessarily in an expensive doctor’s office. You’ll find it at the library.
The Queens Library, in collaboration with industry experts, has curated a program of free classes and workshops that address mental health from myriad angles, and in multiple languages (English, Spanish and Mandarin) — all free of charge.
Everyone could use a better night’s sleep, but if you’re chronically tired check out a Coping with Insomnia or Sleep Hygiene session — there are certain behavioral shifts and new practices that might help you squeeze out a few more z’s each evening.
Feeling low, generally? Sometimes we need a bit of motivation in order to structure more joy into our day-to-day. Stop by It’s Not My Life to learn about what might be getting you down, but more importantly what you can do to saddle positivity and ride it to success.
There’s even a guided meditation session which will help you focus. And don’t forget that children can experience just as much stress as you (minus the bills!) Consider sending your young ones along to a Stress Management for Children meeting so they can learn skills and tips to keep them on an even-keel.
Further, there are group meetings for caregivers, because when we pour so much of ourselves into others it’s easy to neglect yourself.
Fiona Harvey and Tamara Michel, health professionals at the Queens Library, curated the month’s calendar of programs with their communities in mind. “Mental health awareness is such a pertinent and sentimental initiative; Tamara and I worked diligently to bring this Queens Library project to fruition” says Harvey.
You’re in good hands, and will find a comfortable, safe space this May at Queens Library. For more information and a calendar events, visit queenslib.org/mentalhealthawareness.