As we bask in the warmth and brightness of spring, let’s not forget the importance of mental well-being. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Christ House is committed to supporting both consumers and staff along the mental health continuum. As we approach the end of this special month let’s explore the ALGEE model, emphasize staff resilience and self-care and understand the connection between mental health and homelessness.
By familiarizing ourselves with the ALGEE (Assess, Listen, Give, Encourage professional help, and Encourage self-help) we can better assess the mental health needs of those we serve, actively listen to their experiences, offer support and encourage professional help when necessary.
Staff resilience and self-care are vital in our challenging and emotionally demanding work. Encouraging self-reflection, self-compassion, and engagement in activities that promote personal well-being is crucial. Christ House is dedicated to fostering supportive environments where staff feel safe to discuss their experiences, seek support, and prioritize self-care.
To optimize your commitment to your self-care, focus on the following eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical environmental, financial, occupational, and social. By finding balance in these areas, we promote mental health and develop the capacity to handle crises and challenges.
Understanding the relationship between mental health and homelessness is essential. Poor mental health contributes to homelessness through factors such as poverty, discrimination, disaffiliation, and personal vulnerability. Likewise, homelessness can worsen mental health, leading to increased stress, anxiety, fear, and substance use. By addressing mental health, we play an important role in breaking the cycle of homelessness.
Amidst the demands of our work, it’s imperative we stay grounded and connect with nature. Accessible to all, spending time in nature brings peace and serenity. Nature positively impacts our emotional state, helping us recharge and find solace.
As Mental Health Awareness Month concludes, let’s carry forward the lessons and practices we’ve explored. Together, let’s cultivate a supportive environment where mental health is prioritized, offering hope, healing, and modeled as a year-round commitment to our consumers. By nurturing our mental health, we influence our physical and emotional well-being, strengthen our resilience, and face life stressors in healthy and positive ways. Thank you for your dedication!
Alison Walker, LICSW