“In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25%,” according to the World Health Organization. Nevertheless, the stigma associated with the disease still prevents many people from seeking treatment.
As a result, the Chickasaw Nation is working to integrate mental health more seamlessly into its health services.
“Mental well-being is as vital to all of us as the heart, the respiratory tract and all aspects of health,” he said. “Fortunately, under Governor Anoatubby’s leadership, the Chickasaw Nation places a high priority on services focused on good mental health for our people.
One example is Chikasha Anokfilli, which translates to “Thinking Chickasaw,” a mental health initiative exploring what it means to be strong and resilient, and providing resources to promote overall wellbeing while eliminating the stigma of mental health issues. .
Located at Chickasaw.net/MentalWellness, the Chikasha Anokfilli page includes resources from mental health professionals offering support for trauma, grief, suicide awareness and prevention, financial and cultural well-being, and more. The page features several videos accessible by visitors interested in boosting their mental well-being.
Below are additional tips and resources for maintaining mental well-being during these challenging times.
Take care of yourself
Maintain good health habits to the best of your ability. Good nutrition, adequate sleep, and regular exercise will support your immune system and mental well-being. Give yourself plenty of grace when the extra demands of life interfere. Calmer times will come and you can keep your routines again.
Protect your time
Protect your mental well-being and valuable time by limiting your exposure to news and social media. Whenever possible, use your time to focus on hobbies, positive relationships with people you care about, and calming hobbies like walking or yoga.
Allow your routines to be flexible
Use flexible routines and focus on things you can control. There may be days when you cannot control your schedule. Instead, make yourself a menu with a variety of options for things that are good for your body, brain, relationships, spirituality, or whatever else is important to you. Set a daily goal for the number of items you want to do in each category and celebrate your efforts to achieve those goals. Adjust as needed.
Start a daily gratitude practice
Make a point each day to notice and talk or write three things that have made you grateful. Research shows it can reduce the risk of depression or anxiety disorders by activating important feel-good pathways in your brain and training your brain to spend time outside of stress-response mode.
Get regular support from people you like
This is important even when you are feeling well or don’t think you are feeling extra stress. Use technology to your advantage to keep lines of communication open or seek out new connections. Be brave to ask for help and try new things to give yourself more support. There are even advice apps you can try.
Take care of your family
Find creative new ways to connect with your family. Use technology or write and post notes and pictures to each other. Make sure to laugh together often. Tell yourself stories. Search online for “brain breaks” you can take with your kids from a safe distance.
talk about it
Empathize with difficult emotions and offer lots of comfort. Whenever possible, help yourself and your family focus on the positive aspects of the situation, such as how people are helping each other. Talk about positive ways your family could change, such as being more creative or discovering new foods that you love.
People who feel particularly anxious or agitated should try slow, deep breathing. One trick is to teach yourself to breathe “7-11”. Inhale through your nose for seven seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 11 seconds. Repeat this several times. Practicing this naturally relaxes the body. This will help reduce stress.
Inhaling and exhaling slowly helps focus on the breath and redirects thoughts, allowing the body to decompress and reducing stress. Practicing breathing techniques can be very calming. When we breathe correctly, our body naturally relaxes.
Relaxation of tension in the body is also helpful. Stretching the limbs, neck and back is good practice. Be aware to take care of any type of muscle, bone or joint conditions that could be aggravated.
Clearing the mind and focusing on something positive can also help. Taking a few moments to meditate, pray, or simply sit in a quiet place can bring a sense of peace.
Keep the routines
Maintaining a routine is extremely important. Continue to go to bed and get up at the usual time. Eat your meals normally. Normal routines, including bathing, brushing teeth, changing clothes, and getting enough sleep, should be continued as normal.
Stay in touch with others If you can’t visit friends and relatives in person, be sure to call or text regularly.
Apps like FaceTime, Skype, Google Duo, Google Hangouts, and Zoom allow multiple people to join a single video call. This allows extended family or groups of friends to get together at the same time.
Get out of the house, if possible, but always safely. Fresh air and physical activity are natural stress relievers.
The Chickasaw Nation routinely provides mental health service options to all First Americans. These include the Chickasaw Nation Outpatient Therapy, Psychosocial Unit, Medical Family Therapy, Prevention and Behavioral Health Services. Each specializes in patient care.
A free mental health check is available at MHAScreening.org.
Ada (580) 436-1222
Purcell/Pauls Valley/Oklahoma City (405) 767-8940
Medical family therapy
Ardmore (580) 226-8181
Purcell (405) 527-4700
Tishomingo (580) 371-2361
Behavioral health services
Hina’ Chokma (Good Road) – Men’s Recovery Center
Toll Free (800) 851-9135
Sexual Assault Services
Violence Prevention Services
Add (580) 272-5580 or (855) 405-7645
Nittak Himitta’ (A New Day) – Women and Children’s Recovery Center
Add (580) 235-0554 or (844) 865-2190
Aalhakoffichi’ (A Place of Healing) – Transitional Living Center for Adolescents
Paul’s Valley (405) 331-2300
Child Protective Services
Ada/Purcell/Oklahoma City (580) 272-5550
Ardmore (580) 222-2910
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Distress Helpline
(800) 985-5990 or text 66746
Text START to 741-741
Heartline OK Suicide Crisis
If you or someone you love is in crisis, call National Suicide Prevention