My name is Barbara and I'm a Mental Health Occupational Therapist.
For the past 6 years, before and during the Pandemic, I've been working with people struggling with Depression and Anxiety, including teens and young adults. At my NAMI award winning hospital, we've had a lot of success helping people with Skills-Based Mental Wellness.
What is Skills-Based Mental Wellness? It's a method of developing Mental Wellness by focusing on learning and using the skills we all need to manage our bodies, emotions and thoughts. Skills that help put us in a good - or even great - place to face the challenges of life.
In order to teach people Mental Wellness skills, I had to learn them myself. And I realized they were helping me with my own challenges even though I wasn't dealing with a mental health issue. I noticed a lot of things felt easier to handle and I was getting better outcomes with:
- my ability to deal with the stressors in my life - including working at the hospital straight through the Pandemic
- my previously "difficult" relationships
- my sense of meaning and purpose in life and
- feeling connected and at peace.
Prevention is better than Cure. I started to wonder...WHY do we WAIT until people show up at the hospital before we teach them these skills??
WHY don't we teach people these skills in school, at work or anywhere else as a PREVENTATIVE measure??
That's why we founded the HAERT Program - an online, video-based curriculum that systematically and explicitly teaches people the skills they need to get Out of a Hole and Climb a Mountain.
This Subkit introduces readers to many of the skills and strategies found in the HAERT Program.
Why Skills?? Therapy is important. And therapists are like lifeguards. We definitely need them when we're drowning. But they can't be on guard everywhere all the time. Ultimately we need to Learn to Swim so we can enjoy being in the water whenever we want.
It's Empowering to learn the skills to swim in the waters of life. It gives us the freedom to not be worried that we're dependent on someone else to rescue us.
Skills also allow us to Enjoy Life More because we're less concerned about being stressed and uncomfortable that we can't handle ourselves in the water.
And skills help us level up our game. Life has a way of increasing the difficulty level and giving us new challenges even as we learn to cope with others. By building mastery with our use of skills, we can embrace increasingly challenging situations. Rather than avoiding life.