October 10, 11: In recent years, we have become more aware of our mental healths and there is an increase in the number of people actively seeking help and support for a positive and strentghened mental health. During the last one year, owing to the pandemic and social isolation, many people are under immense stress which has affected their mental health. October month is the Emotional wellness month, with Oct 10th being the world mental health day. As a community bonding outreach, we made 128 packets of wellness gifts, for the Sawtelle A unit apts and some for our community custodial staff, who risk everything to help us maintain a hygeinc place. The gifts were distributed door to door on Oct 10 and Oct 11 amidst proper social distancing.. We made handmade cards, with large sunflowers denoting happiness and also placed small tokens of candles, live plants and hand sanitizers. This was a gesture to show support and to spread positive message that we are here for each other in the community and that mental health is real!
On Oct 11, we had a zoom interactive session with Dr. Allan Comoue, Ph.D., (Psychologist) Asst Clinical Prof., David Geffen School of medicine, UCLA as a Virtual community collective. We discussed about 'Mental health and coping strategies in the pandemic'. We also had residents ask their questions. In summary, there were 4 major points covered: 1) The coronavirus is going to last for a long time, so our best preparation is to wear masks and keep social distancing. 2) For mental health within family members (innermost circle)-gratitude and affirmations of being amongst loved ones on a regular basis, acts of kindness and when outside (outercircles)- waving, saying hello, how are you, have a good day etc. 3) to keep our children aware and not overtly scared of coronavirus, we can use phrases such as, 'the virus is new for us, it is dangerous, we are trying to find cures together as grown ups, there are other kinds of illnesses and lets follow the best we can to keep ourselves safe'. 4) Physical activities such as walks, indoor exercizes, spending time with family doing art, gardening, playing games etc. and staying connected with friends and families via zoom, phone calls, biking, taking walks etc and avoiding large crowds'. This was a great learning experience and we got to learn more about the ways we can contiribute to our well being and that of our community, by encompassing compassion and kindness towards one another. Please see Dr. Comoue's note attached with this post.