Celebrating Healthy Communities is excited to announce some changes we’ve made in an effort to broaden our impact in the community.
Our 25- year-old prevention collaborative has recently adopted a research-based prevention framework called Communities That Care that allows us to truly prevent our youths from experiencing issues like suicide, substance abuse, delinquency, etc. Along with this change comes a new name for our re-energized coalition: Recognizing Opportunities Around Resiliency, or ROAR. The adoption of this framework allows us to better collaborate with other prevention initiatives in our community so that we can begin breaking down the silos that have kept our work separate for so long. Together, we can work toward the same common goals, using the same language and tools that allow us to share what limited resources we have in our rural community.
Resiliency is one’s ability to overcome the challenges that life throws our way (i.e., stress, crisis, “life problems,” etc.) and to be able to bounce back. Resiliency doesn’t get rid of our problems. Rather, it allows us to see past them, to find the enjoyment in life and handle what comes our way. It is something we all have and we develop beginning at birth. It is like a “mental health reservoir” that we are tasked with tapping into over the course of our lifespan. Resiliency doesn’t mean “going it alone” or “toughing it out” – it is the opposite. Resiliency requires us to form connections with others. Further, it requires us to reach out to ask for help when we need it. This very requirement for resiliency challenges many of our traditional views revolving around individualism, strength and success.
Traditionally, we have been told that it is a sign of weakness to show emotions, let alone ask for help. Many of us have even been told things like, “that’s nothing to cry about” or “don’t be a baby,” especially if you identify as male. The honest expression of feelings has been met with fear and sometimes even shock.
Recent research in the fields of mental and behavioral health are now singing a different tune and showing us that we have been going about this all wrong. What research now tells us is that it actually makes an individual stronger and more resilient when one can: 1) name what emotion they are feeling; 2) appropriately express that emotion; and 3) reach out and ask for help when they know it is needed. This falls in line with our basic notion of resiliency mentioned above. We cannot build resiliency if we are not connected to others. We as human beings are meant to be connected, and one reason is just that: It helps us to survive.
We are grateful to the community for its continued support and involvement in local prevention efforts, namely the ROAR coalition. It literally takes a village to care for one another, and ROAR is just one way to we hope to promote connectedness and resiliency in our community.
Breeah Kinsella is the director of Celebrating Healthy Communities and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kate Jones is the Thriving Communities Program supervisor at San Juan Basin Public Health and can be reached at email@example.com or 335-2084.