asha international mental health

We Give Hope

Take charge of your mental health.

Take charge of your mental health.

The fast-growing COVID-19 pandemic is impacting all our lives.We understand this is a difficult time for all of us, and it’s taking a toll on our health – mental and physical. We wanted to share some tools that can help you stay calm & centered. Hope you find them helpful as you get through these trying times. Meditate – There are some wonderful free apps that you can download on your phone or smartwatch. Take a few minutes to start, end or break up your day with meditation. Journal – Spend a few minutes journaling three things you are grateful for each day. It is a great way to increase positivity and happiness in your life. Exercise – Get outside! Go for a walk, run or bike ride. Or unroll your mat and do some yoga, stretching or Pilates. Even 15 minutes will change your mood and you’ll be surprised, after you start you may not want to stop. Enjoy healthy meals – gather your family and cook your favorite recipes and enjoy them together. Explore a new or overlooked hobby – Pick up a book, put together a puzzle, work in your garden, bake cookies. These can take your mind off everything happening right now and help center you. You could also pick up a new hobby through online videos or tutorials. Organize – Remember that junk drawer you always say you’re going to clean, take a few minutes and tackle that project. Think about how great it will be to check it off your list! Sleep – Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. Go...
Yoga and mindfulness helped me heal and stabilize my moods.

Yoga and mindfulness helped me heal and stabilize my moods.

As a young girl I was always very active. I started out with ballet as a toddler which led to highland dancing as I got a bit older. From then on, I was involved in a variety of sports such as volleyball, soccer and basketball. This kept me very busy as a child, if I wasn’t at school I was at practice or a game. My mother mentioned to me recently that when sports season was going on, I always did better in school. I was actively playing sports until the second half of my freshman year in high school. I decided to stop playing because I was attending a brand-new school and there were a few older girls on the volleyball team that started to pick on me. I started feeling insecure and upset about the way I was being treated and I didn’t want to tell an adult because I thought that would backfire on me. I really didn’t look forward to going to volleyball practice so eventually I stopped. That is when I decided I no longer wanted to continue playing sports. Because I decided to stop playing sports, my grades suffered. I started skipping class more and stopped doing my homework. I also started getting into a lot more trouble because I was hanging around the wrong crowd. Drugs and alcohol were heavily involved in my life all throughout high school and afterwards. I know that if I had continued playing sports, my high school career would not have been nearly as toxic and unsuccessful as it was. After high school I continued to hang...
A story of friendship & resilience

A story of friendship & resilience

My name’s Hanna, mine’s Jaxon, and we’re seniors at Glencoe High School. Jaxon: those of you who know us know that we’ve been friends for a long time but we got truly close in sophomore year when we were both going through a lot. In the ensuing time, our experiences with mental health have been closely linked and we’re here today to discuss the importance of friendship and support networks in promoting mental health.  Hanna: from initially supporting one another to now working together with an international nonprofit in promoting mental health awareness, Jaxon’s and my stories are closely linked. Jaxon: back in sophomore year, i was dealing with the end an unhealthy relationship and my relationship with my father was hostile and contentious. I was stressed and isolating myself from my friends.  Hanna: at the same time, I was dealing with aftershocks of a death in my family and my existing mental health conditions were especially bad. I was having very severe panic attacks and struggling to stay afloat in areas that used to be easy for me, like school & my other volunteer work.   Jaxon and I had 5 classes together, so we were spending a lot of time with one another. Over a couple of months, we ended up opening up to each other about what we were coping with and I think it surprised us both how much it helped to have someone to talk to.  Jaxon: for the first time in a long time I opened up to someone new about what I was struggling with, and it helped me gain clarity and a...
Creating art helped me cope with depression and self-harm.

Creating art helped me cope with depression and self-harm.

Art has always been a part of my life, from doodling as an infant to taking art classes throughout school I’ve always been creating something. But when my depression was at its peak, I found that I had no motivation to draw, lacked inspiration, energy, and it felt like I had lost such a fundamental piece of myself. Reflecting back, in some ways I think I had romanticized the idea of self-harm and saw it as another form of body art, as a “healthy” expression of my feelings.  Self-harm as a coping mechanism is addictive, and while I slowly began to realize how dangerous my behaviour was, like any addiction it was extremely difficult to stop. When this had been my go-to for so long, it seemed hard to imagine anything else working to help me deal with the dark thoughts that filled my mind daily.  Music was an outlet for me at the time. I had never really been musically inclined, but bands like Pierce the Veil and Bring Me the Horizon created songs with lyrics that explained exactly how I felt but didn’t know how to vocalize. Quickly, I became more and more captivated by the world of alternative music and these musicians became my role models. They candidly spoke about their own experiences as teenagers struggling with mental illnesses and within them I found a community.  Something most of these musicians had in common were their heavily tattooed appearances and I became almost obsessed with their body art. In a way, it reminded me of a more permanent version of “mehndi”, a type of Indian semi-permanent...
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