In Support of Mental Health Days

MMH supports a new Bill that would allow for excused mental health days for students. Watch this video where sponsoring delegate Washington speaks about the bill and founder of MMH Jillian Amodio supports it.

If you can spare a few moments of your time to support these efforts please send an email to members of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee letting them know you all support this bill! (HB0461)

Reaching out To Inspire Change

In an effort to truly build a society of loving acceptance, it is imperative that we are vocal about issues needing to be addressed, even if those issues do not specifically affect us. It is more important than ever to think abut the social injustices and social concerns that are occurring around us and do our part to speak up and spark thought, conversation, and hopefully change. Today I sent this letter to all of our Maryland elected officials (and a similar one to all of the Maryland school boards) Please consider thinking about an area you would like to see change in and reach out! If you need emails let me know, I keep a list.

State Elected Official Letter

Good afternoon,

I am writing to you today with a concern that I hope you will hold dear to your heart. I know that there are many issues that we as Marylanders face daily, especially during times of such struggle. I thank you for all of your continued efforts to serve our community members. 

Suicide is a major concern among our youth population and we need to ensure that citizens and officials are doing what we can to work together to prevent such tragedy. Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 48,000 people. According to the National Institute of Mental Health suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 10-34. 

According to the CDC “A study of youth in grades 7-12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Some risk factors are linked to being gay or bisexual in a hostile environment and the effects that this has on mental health.” 

I have spoken at length on the risk of suicide as a whole and today I would like to break that risk down further to express the need for prevention and intervention specifically for the LGBTQ community. Those identifying as LGBTQ often face increased instances of discrimination, stigma, and feelings of shame or confusion that can lead to a decline in mental health and an increase in mental health issues including depression and suicidal ideations. Due to things like stigma and a lack of understanding or openness surrounding discussions about gender and sexuality, it can be difficult for LGBTQ persons to seek adequate guidance, support, or assistance for mental health struggles. This may include fear of discrimination, lack of access to LGBTQ informed providers, or lack of access to quality and affordable care. 

Recent statistics show that 4.2% of Adult Marylanders are LGBTQ. 5% of the Maryland workforce identifies as LGBTQ, and 20%of the Maryland LGBTQ population are raising children. 

Youth identifying as transgender are four times as likely to experience depression than their heterosexual peers. Stigma and discrimination of members of the LGBTQ youth community cause them to be more at risk of facing struggles with their mental health. Twenty eight percent of LGBTQ youth report feeling depressed in comparison to twelve percent of non-LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth are two times as likely to have suicidal ideations and four times more likely to make a suicide attempt compared to heterosexual peers. LGBTQ youth who are rejected by their families are 8.4 times as likely to attempt suicide as those who do not experience rejection.

According to the Trevor Project 48% of LGBTQ youth reported engaging in self-harm in the past twelve months, including over 60% of transgender and nonbinary youth. 46% of LGBTQ youth report they wanted psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in the past 12 months. 29% of LGBTQ youth have experienced homelessness, been kicked out, or run away. 61% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being prevented or discouraged from using a bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. 86% of LGBTQ youth said that recent politics have negatively impacted their well-being

In an effort to cultivate a safe, inclusive, and accepting environment for LGBTQ Marylanders, and be an example for how others should follow suit, I implore you to keep LGBTQ rights and equality at the forefront of your minds and continue to seek ways of building bridges of connection and communication to lessen the painful ramifications of mental health concerns and suicide on our communities. 

I encourage you to continue to push for things like access to quality and affordable health care that includes being seen in a timely manner, and treated with dignity and respect regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. I implore you to seek ways to cultivate safe and accepting school and work environments, as well as inclusive legislation, ensuring the rights of all individuals are protected and taken into account. I also encourage greater discussions about proper pronoun use in schools, legislation, work environments, and medical practices. I push for ensuring that there are safe spaces and safe people for LGBTQ community members to seek guidance, help, and support from. Please do not be silent about your support of the LGBTQ community. Please use your voice and your positions to advocate for the continued health and wellness of all our residents. 

Suicide (especially among the LGBTQ community) needs to become a social problem and not just a mental health issue. To make it a social problem we must be vocal in our concerns and our support. Those in marginalized subsets of our community may feel like they have no one on their side who understands them. They often begin to wonder, do I matter? Is there a place for me? Does anyone really care? It is our duty as a society of fellow human beings to reach out to those who may not fit the norm and help them to realize that they have every right to exist and to thrive as anyone else. By advocating for social change, allies and members of this community can come together to fight for systemic changes and a societal shift in perspective. We can collectively say I see you. I value you. I will fight alongside you for the treatment you deserve. A society is only as strong as our weakest members, and it is our weakest members and those who live in silence who deserve to have light shed on the struggles they are facing and the changes that need to occur. 

Many thanks, 

Jillian Amodio

School Board Letter

Good afternoon,

I am writing to you today with a concern that I hope you will hold dear to your heart. As individuals in positions of influence for our schools I know you want what is best for all of our children. I know that there are many issues Maryland families face daily, especially during times of such struggle. I thank you for all of your continued efforts to serve our children and their families. 

Suicide is a major concern among our youth population and we need to ensure that citizens and officials are doing what we can to work together to prevent such tragedy. Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 48,000 people. According to the National Institute of Mental Health suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 10-34. 

According to the CDC “A study of youth in grades 7-12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Some risk factors are linked to being gay or bisexual in a hostile environment and the effects that this has on mental health.” 

Those identifying as LGBTQ often face increased instances of discrimination, stigma, and feelings of shame or confusion that can lead to a decline in mental health and an increase in mental health issues including depression and suicidal ideations. Due to things like stigma and a lack of understanding or openness surrounding discussions about gender and sexuality, it can be difficult for LGBTQ persons to seek adequate guidance, support, or assistance for mental health struggles. This may include fear of discrimination, lack of access to LGBTQ informed providers, or lack of access to quality and affordable care. 

Youth identifying as transgender are four times as likely to experience depression than their heterosexual peers. Stigma and discrimination of members of the LGBTQ youth community cause them to be more at risk of facing struggles with their mental health. Twenty eight percent of LGBTQ youth report feeling depressed in comparison to twelve percent of non-LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth are two times as likely to have suicidal ideations and four times more likely to make a suicide attempt compared to heterosexual peers. LGBTQ youth who are rejected by their families are 8.4 times as likely to attempt suicide as those who do not experience rejection.

According to the Trevor Project 48% of LGBTQ youth reported engaging in self-harm in the past twelve months, including over 60% of transgender and nonbinary youth. 46% of LGBTQ youth report they wanted psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in the past 12 months. 29% of LGBTQ youth have experienced homelessness, been kicked out, or run away. 61% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being prevented or discouraged from using a bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. 86% of LGBTQ youth said that recent politics have negatively impacted their well-being

In an effort to cultivate a safe, inclusive, and accepting environment for LGBTQ youth, and be an example for how others should follow suit, I implore you to keep LGBTQ rights and equality at the forefront of your minds when thinking about how our schools operate. I encourage you continue to seek ways of building bridges of connection and communication to lessen the painful ramifications of mental health concerns and suicide on our communities. 

I encourage you to find ways of educating staff members on the specifics of the LGBTQ community and the unique struggles they face. I implore you to seek ways to cultivate safe and accepting school environments including in the classroom, on the busses, and in extra curricular activities. I also encourage greater discussions about proper pronoun use in schools both among staff and students. I push for ensuring that there are safe spaces and safe people for LGBTQ youth to seek guidance, help, and support from and that it is made obvious who these safe people are. Please do not be silent about your support of the LGBTQ youth. Please use your voice and your positions to advocate for the continued health and wellness of all our students. 

Suicide (especially among the LGBTQ community) needs to become a social problem and not just a mental health issue. To make it a social problem we must be vocal in our concerns and our support. Those in marginalized subsets of our community may feel like they have no one on their side who understands them. They often begin to wonder, do I matter? Is there a place for me? Does anyone really care? It is our duty as a society of fellow human beings to reach out to those who may not fit the norm and help them to realize that they have every right to exist and to thrive as anyone else. By advocating for social change, allies and members of this community can come together to fight for systemic changes and a societal shift in perspective. We can collectively say I see you. I value you. I will fight alongside you for the treatment you deserve. A society is only as strong as our weakest members, and it is our weakest members and those who live in silence who deserve to have light shed on the struggles they are facing and the changes that need to occur. 

Many thanks, 

Jillian Amodio

AFSP Suicide Prevention: Walk and Drive Through Luminary

Thank you Kat Olbrich for a wonderful interview about tips for self care during COVID and info on the virtual walk and beautiful drive through luminary event for suicide prevention! I cannot wait to participate in the drive through, I am sure it is going to be beautiful! AFSP


If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Finding Balance with E-Learning Dr. Kimberly Palmiotto, Educational Psychologist

Moms For Mental Health had a wonderful Q and A with Dr. Kimberley Palmiotto Educational Psychologist about finding balance with e-learning. We recorded the session for those who may be interested in hearing the discussion.

Here is the link to the article in Chesapeake Family Magazine mentioned in the video.

AACPL Helps Families Navigate Grief and Loss

Grief and loss are never easy to navigate. During COVID, many familes have the added struggle of not being able to say goodbye as they usually would. Anne Arundel County Public Library now offers a kit entitled Healing Library: Death of a Loved One. These kits come full of books, activities, and resources designed to help families navigate grief and loss together. Many of the items are intended to be kept by families to help encourage and uplift them during their journey through loss, grief, and healing.

To learn more about the healing library listen to AACPL staff member Laura Namovicz in the video below.

Or visit the healing library for downloadable resources here.

Maryland Senior Care With Lean On Dee Senior Advocates

Please take a moment to view or share our interview with Lean On Dee Senior Advocates. Co Owner Winsome Brown shares the many services she and her sister offer to help provide quality care and attention to the seniors we love. They offer more than senior care, they offer compassionate interaction that truly is an extension of family. Whether help is needed for doctors visits, home safety evaluations, dementia care, or assisted living placement, they are a wealth of loving knowledge. They encourage us all as a community to show love and compassion to our seniors through simple acts of listening. They view aging as a graceful process, and something to be respected.

Art Therapy with Elizabeth Hlavek

In my practice, I work primarily with adolescents and young adults struggling with eating disorders, body image issues and self esteem concerns. I have a strong understanding of the relationship between trauma and body image, and I work delicately with my clients to help recognize these connections to facilitate healing. My experience comes from years working on an eating disorders inpatient unit, day hospital and IOP. Art Therapy can be beneficial for those who struggle to express themselves verbally and is a popular modality in the treatment of PTSD and eating disorders.Art Therapy does not require art skills and art materials are provided. In a typical session, we will both talk and make art. I work with my clients using a variety of media and interventions based on personal preference and therapeutic goals. Sessions and artwork are always confidential.As a Board Certified, Licensed Clinical Art Therapist, I work with clients to facilitate expression and self-awareness. Art Therapy allows individuals to communicate in an alternative, safer, format. Artwork can serve as a metaphor for an individual’s inner experience.Call or Email Elizabeth Hlavek for a free phone consultation now – (443) 291-3460

POC Providers

We would like to feature a few mental health resources featuring POC.

Octavia Brown is an incredible influence in the Annapolis area. If you know her personally you get it when we say she is INCREDIBLE! She “specializes in racial trauma therapy, trauma-informed care, cognitive behavioral therapy, and behavioral modification. She received her MSW from the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work in 2015, but has served in the urban community for over 10 years.” Her practice is Urban Institute of Mental Health.

Natasha Miller has been working in the greater Washington D.C. area providing counseling and case management services for the past fourteen years. She has experience building relationships with those experiencing homelessness to professionals serving as chief executives. She has a passion for social justice and grass roots advocacy” For more about Natasha visit her site here.

Another valuable resource for women of color is the website http://therapyforblackgirls.com

And for further resources and information on mental health and the black community please visit NAMI’s page here.

Summer Workshops For Teens With Anxiety

SUMMER WORKSHOPS FOR TEENS ON ANXIETY MANAGEMENT AND SELF-ESTEEM/LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT! SEE ATTACHED FLYERS. My name is Sam Straub, founder of Samantha Straub Consulting, LLC Support, Strategies and Straight Talk to Help Teens Thrive. Together with Waypoint Wellness Center, where I work part time as a therapist, I’m excited to bring these educational opportunities to our community. I have been teaching and supporting teens for over 23 years, first as a classroom teacher, then as an administrator, and now as a high school counselor and mental health therapist. In addition, I’m raising two teenagers of my own. The age group is near and dear to my heart. With love, humor, and nearly two and a half decades of training and learning, I find energy in helping teens reach their full potential This summer, I’ve designed several workshops to help address two of the most common issues I encounter in my work with teens: anxiety and low self-esteem. SLAY YOUR STRESS is all about providing participants with tools and skills to reframe stress as our body’s response to challenge, and giving teens the tools and skills to successfully and powerfully navigate periods of anxiety. Better TogetHER is a leadership development program for early adolescent girls. This workshop aims to empower young women at precisely the time in their lives when many will encounter a confidence drop. The focus of Better TogetHER is on leadership of the self: learning about our own strengths, developing positive communication tools that will help us connect with others, and tactically applying our unique gifts for the betterment of ourselves and our communities. I’ve included more info about each workshop on the flyers below. More info can also be found on Waypoint’s website under the “services” tab: https://www.waypointwellnesscenter.com/summer-workshopsPlease feel free to contact me through the link above, at sstraub@waypointwellnesscenter.com, or PM me at Samantha Straub Consulting, LLC with additional inquiries.COVID-19 Precautions:Each workshop will take place in the lower level conference room at the Conte Building, 130 Lubrano Drive, Annapolis. Workshops will be capped at 9 participants, and the meeting room provides ample space for social distancing. Participants will be asked to bring their own snacks and water bottles and to wear a mask. Materials will be cleaned and sanitized between uses and between users, and hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will be available. Upon arrival, participants will be screened for possible symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms or who may have been exposed to the virus will not be permitted to participate.