In response to several recent tragedies occurring in our county and throughout the U.S., the OC Health Care Agency’s (HCA) Mental Health and Recovery Services (MHRS) office encourages OC residents to seek support for yourself and your children with mental health and emotional challenges.
“There have been several distressing and heartbreaking events recently. I’m concerned for the children in our community and want to encourage families in Orange County to take advantage of tools and resources available to support our young people,” stated Board Chairman Doug Chaffee, Fourth District. “Coming together as neighbors to support one another is important when we are processing tragic events.”
Emotional support is important for everyone and being able to share healthy expressions of feelings with others is critical. Children often need help identifying feeling and how to express themselves. Focusing on positive activities for children and families can help address emotions like fear or sadness.
In 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health. In it, he states that today’s young people face unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate challenges, causing an alarming increase in the prevalence of certain mental health conditions. The advisory contains recommendations on how families and caregivers can engage with children and youth on mental health topics, help them become more resilient, and address emerging mental health challenges. Read more: HHSAdvisory
“Traumatic events are cumulative, leaving their impact one on top of the other,” said Dr. Veronica Kelley, HCA’s Chief of Mental Health and Recovery Services. “Our brains can only take so much exposure to trauma, including disturbing images and upsetting news.” She recommends the following steps for care:
- Reduce exposure to media, including social media.
- Protect your peace (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self).
- Stay active. Physical activity resets your brain.
- Spend time with people that you love.
- At work, when on a break or lunch, step away from your desk and get some fresh air or go for a walk.
If you or someone you know needs to speak with some, the OC Nami/WarmLine is a free and confidential telephone service providing emotional support and resources to Orange County residents by calling or texting (714) 991-6412. Or contact OC Links to speak/chat/text 24/7 with a supportive Navigator trained to connect you with appropriate mental health services. Call or text (855) 625-4657, available in English, Arabic, Farsi, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Additional resources can be found by visiting www.OCNavigator.org.