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The Launch of
Bounce Back & Breathe 

To be a young person today is to worry. While we all experienced the challenges of our teen years, today’s generation of young people face a set of unique challenges. Social media pressures. Racial unrest. Climate change. Threats to basic rights. Global instability. And the list goes on. Add to that a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and the youth mental health crisis that was a kindling fire a decade ago has become a five-alarm blaze.

Our youth are desperately in need of help, and it is time we answer the call. In data released this month, a record 5.4 million people in 2021 took a mental health screening using Mental Health America’s (MHA) Online Screening Program – almost half of them were youth aged 11-17. In our analysis, we saw rates of people experiencing suicidal ideation reach record levels, with particularly high numbers among LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color.

So, what can we do?

At MHA, we are focused on next-generation prevention – guarding against the emergence of mental health conditions and mitigating the impact for those who are currently struggling. That includes:

  • Ensuring the conditions for mental well-being, such as housing food and economic security.

  • Ensuring timely access to culturally responsive mental health services, without financial or other barriers.

  • Providing education on the basics of mental health, resilience, and recovery.

  • Responding promptly, especially in emergency situations, with trained peers and clinicians.

  • Addressing the addiction crisis.

  • Prioritizing equity and ensuring inclusion.

  • Leading with the voices of lived experience.

This is what next generation prevention looks like. We address some of these concepts in our 2022 Mental Health Month Toolkit, Back to Basics. Find, in both English and Spanish:

  • How to maintain good mental health,

  • How to recognize when you need help with mental health,

  • What to do when you need help with your mental health, and

  • Terms to know.

Our toolkit also includes ways to involve your workplace, community, school, or organization with posters, drop-in articles, and sample social media posts and graphics.

In addition, learn more about the youth mental health crisis and how MHA works to elevate the voices of our young people through the Young Mental Health Leaders Council and the Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council.

Mental health is health, and just as it is important to build a strong foundation of knowledge about our physical health, the same is true of mental health. This Mental Health Month, I encourage you to step back inside the metaphorical classroom and get Back to Basics, as we work together for better mental health for all youth.

I also encourage you to check in with friends and family this month – offer to listen, validate feelings, and aid in accessing help if needed. While we are dealing with serious, and sometimes complicated topics, it is important to support each other remember that mental well-being and healing are within reach.

Mental Health American is a member of the National Health Council. This blog was originally published on the NHC website.


I recently typed the biggest headline of the day into Google, and in less than a second, 52 million news articles screamed for my attention. This was an active search, so considering all the passive media in our lives—social media, television, radio—along with streaming and traditional print news, it’s easy to see why Americans can be overwhelmed by current events.

If you find yourself anxious, sad, angry, depressed, or any combination of emotions after reacting to recent news, first know that all of these feelings are valid. Then, take care of yourself. Each person’s needs are different, but consider the following if feeling stuck:

  • Disconnect: Turn off the TV, close the Twitter app, and disconnect if you find yourself glued to the screen. Get physically active to refocus your brain, go for a walk outside, or do something with your hands, like baking, playing an instrument, or working on a DIY project around your home.

  • Refocus: Try meditating, yoga, or deep breathing to calm down both your body and mind. This can help shift your thinking and reduce scary thoughts about the future (anxiety).

  • Yell into the void (of a notebook): Write down your feelings. You don’t have to show anyone, so write whatever comes to mind, no matter how silly or angry it sounds. Putting it on paper (or a computer screen) can be a wonderful emotional release.

  • Help others: Volunteer with an organization that does something you support, like an animal shelter or food pantry. When feeling pessimistic, it can help to find small ways to directly help others.

  • Talk to another person: Connect with people if you feel alone or isolated. Call or meet up with family, friends, or even coworkers. Find tips on making connections.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are experiencing prolonged feelings of distress or depression. Talk to someone you trust, like a friend or spiritual leader, or call a warmline to discuss your mental health concerns with a trained responder. Find out how to find professional help.

If you are in crisis, you can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1- 800-273-8255 (1-888-628-9454 para español) to talk to a trained listener or you can reach Crisis Text Line (in English or en español) by messaging “MHA” to 741-741.

The best defense to upsetting news is protecting your mind and being kind to yourself.


Why Coping Skills are Critical to Your Mental Health

It sometimes takes a crisis to highlight and expose the cracks of our society. The mental health epidemic has been blindingly apparent during these last 23 months of the pandemic. It has been simplified to a by-product of the pandemic and it is said that once the nation heals, the people will heal.

What we should be highlighting is the conversation around the poor mental health of the nation! The path to recovery for many Americans, and the way to remove the stigma of mental health, is to recognize that mental health was an epidemic before Covid.

The Impacts of Mental Health Challenges

Mental health challenges affect tens of millions of people in America, according to the National Institute of Mental Health and over 47 million adult Americans according to Mental Health America. Without the properly curated national conversation, trust and vulnerability are scarce for those who want to speak out and seek help.

A person's life experiences, and environment can transform their brain health in unique and different ways, shaping the foundations of their mental health. Many people feel ashamed and afraid to come forward and speak out if they feel they need help. Most often, they wait until they’re on edge before reaching out for support. During the pandemic, the already limited mental health support has been harder to find for people struggling with mental health, but it doesn't mean that hope is lost.

Utilizing the support and connections in your local community is vital to the healing process, but that doesn't mean you can't have your own 'toolkit' to pull from. Whether it be meditation, breathwork or art, finding the right coping skills to help relax and ease your mind will aid you in navigating daily life.

While there isn't a one size fits all solution, you may find that one particular coping skill works better for you than another. These are a great place to start when you're developing your mental health 'toolkit':

Art Therapy

Art therapy is known to help those of all ages cope with their mental health challenges. It benefits those with stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Art therapy can be painting, drawing, coloring and mandala art, etc. A study published in the Social Behaviour and Personality journal revealed that the act of coloring and creating mandalas reduced and relieved social anxiety and is a good coping skill for anxiety management.


Studies have shown that meditation reduces stress, depression, anxiety and can help those coping with pain. It helps calm your mind and body and can promote healing. In some cases, meditation is about as effective as an antidepressant. It can help an individual cope with the symptoms of a mental health disorder.


There are many different types of breathwork techniques. They focus on an individual intentionally changing their breathing pattern. This coping skill is especially beneficial for those with anxiety and who have experienced trauma.

Coping Skills are Critical

Wherever in a positive or negative mental health state, learning to utilize proven coping skills can help on the journey to healing. If you're in between mental health appointments or not yet ready to make that first appointment, coping skills will be critical tools you can leverage any time you need them.

Bounce Back and Breathe is a community that can be there for you when you need support. Reach out to day to see how we can work together to a brighter and healthier future.

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