Mental Health Awareness 2023: Bay Area Events, Wellness Tips, and Resources
Every year during the month of May, Life Science Cares Bay Area joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Together, we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for policies that support the millions of people in the U.S. affected by mental illness. Read below to learn how you can get involved, and take good care of yourself and others.
Bay Area Events
There are a number of Mental Health Awareness Events happening around the Bay Area this month. Find one (or three!) near you:
Wed, May 10 at 5:30 PM
Hoover Pavilion, Stanford Campus • Palo Alto, CA
Fri, May 12, 8:00 PM + 3 more
All Out Comedy Theater-Improv Classes and Comedy Shows • Oakland, CA
Starts at $5.00
All Out Comedy Theater
Sat, May 13, 1:00 PM
Coyote Point Recreation Area • San Mateo, CA
Sat, May 13, 7:00 PM
Strut 470 Castro St • San Francisco, CA
San Francisco AIDS Foundation/ Strut
Sat, May 13, 1:00 PM
Robert Pelusi Recreation Building • Napa, CA
Sat, May 13, 1:00 PM
Redwood City Public Library • Redwood City, CA
Wed, May 17, 6:30 PM
East Bay School for Boys • Berkeley, CA
East Bay School for Boys
Fri, May 19, 12:00 PM
N-217 Auditorium • San Francisco, CA
Sat, May 20, 9:00 AM
Anchored California • Vallejo, CA
Starts at $10.00
Sat, May 20, 7:30 PM
Veterans Building • San Francisco, CA
Starts at $30.00
Sat, May 20, 6:00 PM
Milpitas Community Center • Milpitas, CA
Sun, May 21, 2:00 PM
TBD – in San Francisco • San Francisco, CA
Personal Wellness Tips
The 11 tips below are general suggestions for wellness. If you need more help, reach out to one of the resources listed below. It is a normal and courageous thing to do.
- Be Nice to Yourself: When you are feeling down, it is easy to be hard on yourself. While you might not be of the mind to congratulate or compliment yourself, try being compassionate. And here is a little bonus hint: If you really are struggling to be nice to yourself, do something nice for someone else. Then, compliment yourself on doing it!
- Exercise: Even taking a short walk or climbing a flight of stairs can reduce stress and increase alertness. A regular exercise routine can boost one’s mood, increase concentration, and even help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Eat Healthy: Vegetables and fruits? Absolutely! Nutritious foods. Sure. Don’t drink 10 cups of anything in a day, unless it’s water. But healthy eating also means having a healthy attitude toward food. Enjoy meals with friends, try new foods and try not to obsess over food. If you do find that your relationship to food is affecting your mental or physical health, get the facts on eating disorders and take the important step of finding help.
- Sleep Well: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends between 8–10 hours of sleep per night for teenagers and over 7 hours for those ages 20 and up. But sleeping well also refers to when you sleep and the quality of that sleep. Sleep health expert, Dr. Eleanor McGlinchey recommends that you wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays. This simple trick will help you fight that feeling of jet lag on Monday morning (also known as “social jet lag”) and ensure that you are functioning and feeling your best.
- Put the Screens to Sleep Before You Go to Bed: tudies have shown that looking at screens before bedtime can affect how quickly you fall asleep and the quality of that sleep. Blue light from your smartphone affects the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle. Reading, texting, posting, etc. keep your mind active when it should be winding down instead. Oh, and then there are those texts in the middle of the night….
- Breathe Deep: Just try it. Take in a nice slow breath. Start from your belly; expand through your ribs, chest, and lungs. Breathe out just as slowly. Counting can help (“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 …”) Repeat.
- Connect With Others: Friends, family, pets…even a casual friendly hello to a stranger can boost positive feelings, help ward off depression and anxiety, and make you feel that you are connected to others. Focus on the quality of your friendships and relationships, not the quantity. If someone helps you feel supported, happy, useful, liked or loved, or any other positive feelings, keep the connection going.
- Write Down Ways to Relax: Relaxing is one of those things that’s easy to say and harder to do. Unwinding and staying calm can take practice. Write down a list of ideas for positive ways that you can de-stress. Try them out, one step at a time. When something works, try it again. Just remember that you’re going for wellness. Those short-term fixes (we’re talking pills, alcohol, and other forms of substance abuse) aren’t going to help in the long-run. So cross them off the list. Add a mental image or a photo of a beautiful place that you’ll visit someday.
- Find Support (and Be Supportive): If you or someone you know is struggling, find support. This might be a friend or a family member. Or it could be reaching out to a counselor, a primary care doctor, or a mental health professional. If the person you find isn’t giving you the kind of support you need, look for another support option that is better for you and your needs. Likewise, if a friend, family member, or someone you know is feeling down, ask yourself if there is something you can do to be nice or supportive.
- Take Small Steps: If you try to do everything at once, you will probably get nowhere. Set goals, and then draw that dotted line from point A to B to C. Stop and rest along the way. You will thank yourself for it.
- Be Nice to Yourself: Yes, we already said that. But it is worth repeating.
Below are some helpful links to resources and programs in our communities.
- MHASF – The Peer-Run Warm Line
- County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services
- Alameda County Behavioral Health
- Contra Costa County Mental Health Services
- Mental Health Board of San Francisco Resource List
- San Mateo County Health – Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
- Bay Area Community Resources
- Bay Area Legal Aid Youth Services – Help youth 16-24 connect to medical, mental health, support with school & more. (510) 250-5277
- One Degree COVID Resources Bay Area – Choose from mental health, food, housing, jobs + more. Just click on a tab for info.
- Bay Area Resource List – List of housing options and shelters for families + youth by county
Phone Numbers to Know:
- 2-1-1 – Dial from any Bay Area phone number for 24/7 access to resources operated by United Way of the Bay Area
- National Domestic Violence Support Line – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) English & Spanish + also a Chat feature online
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 (Call or Text Support 24/7)
- COVID-19 California Hotline – 1-833-422-4255
- Parenting Stress Hotline – Free confidential counseling for parenting support 24/7 1-800-829-3777
- California Youth Crisis Line – Call/text the youth crisis line to speak to a counselor 24/7 1-800-843-5200
- Operation: Care and Comfort
- California Association of County Veterans Service Officers, Inc.
- Alameda County Social Services Agency
- Contra Costa County Veterans Service Office
- Marin Health & Human Services
- County of Santa Clara – Office of Veterans Services
- County of San Mateo Human Services
- Solano County Veteran Service Office
- Sonoma County Veterans Service Office
- American Legion Post 791
- Veterans Supportive Services Agency, Inc
- Santa Clara Post 419
- Veterans Housing Facility
- Veterans Memorial & Support Foundation of Los Gatos
Join Life Science Cares
Life Science Cares can be a powerful partner in your company’s commitment to enacting positive social change. Companies are recognizing, more than ever, the importance of supporting community-based efforts that align with employee values, ignite engagement, and work toward solutions for complex issues like poverty, racism, and mental healthcare.
As a Corporate Partner, you’ll better understand community needs and forge relationships with a variety of local nonprofits. Life Science Cares connects and maintains relationships for you with a variety of impactful nonprofit partners in our communities. The collective power of Life Science Cares will amplify your philanthropic outreach and engagement.
- Collective Effort: Join a growing community of Bay Area Life Science companies who have chosen to make a collective social impact.
- Community Engagement: Opportunity to connect and develop meaningful relationships with nonprofit partners in your community who have been vetted by Life Science Cares.
- Volunteer Opportunities: Access for your employees to a variety of virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
Life Science Cares activates the financial and human capital of the life sciences industry and partners with nonprofits to disrupt the cycle of poverty and inequality in our communities. We envision all of our neighbors having access to basic needs – including access to basic healthcare, mental health care, and general wellness tools, access to education, and access to economic opportunity.
Together, we can fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for policies that support the millions of people in the U.S. affected by mental illness.