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Finding Mental Health Help Near Me This May

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Living in Charlottesville, VA, I've had a hard time finding mental health help near me. It's hard to get a counselor who takes my insurance, is taking new patients, and can fit my work schedule. Getting a therapist for my daughter has been even worse. Pediatric psychologists are scarce. The stress of finding care only worsens whatever stress you had in the first place.

And yet, people of all ages need mental health support right now. The COVID pandemic, the worsening economy, political clashes, the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine — it's safe to say we've all taken a lot of punches. Even indirect ones can impact you. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that about half of teens felt persistently sad and hopeless during the pandemic. Adults haven't done much better.

Mental Health Help Near Me this May

The Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition works to fill the gaps. UVA Health is part of the coalition. For the month of May, Mental Health Awareness Month, they've created a calendar of community events that promote self-care and emotional wellness. 

Find resources for yourself or others at a wide range of events including:

See the whole calendar of mental health month events.

Fun Stress-Relief Events for Kids & Teens

The group Friends of UVA Children's has developed a free youth activity guide for May. You'll find dozens of local and virtual events. These aim to help kids and caregivers deal with stress, low self-esteem, anxiety, and other challenges.

The calendar bursts with adventures for all ages. Activities like fishing trips, hikes, arts, dance, self-defense, food, and more.

Not all teenagers will let you lure them to family yoga or emotion-mapping exercise. Still, your teen might like:

And if you're a parent or caregiver of a teenager, check out these virtual sessions on:

Some events require registration. Find them at the Shine Guide activity calendar.

Ongoing Efforts: Uniting Primary & Mental Health Care

UVA Health serves as the hub for the western region of the Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP). This statewide program helps healthcare providers take better care of children and teens with mental health conditions.

Need Mental Health Help?

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"I'm so excited," says Caitlin Anderson, PhD, psychologist at UVA Children's. "I love the idea of regularly checking in on an individual's mental health, just like we regularly check blood pressure and other health factors." Currently, parents face a lot of barriers in finding therapists and psychologists for their kids. Training and supporting primary care doctors and pediatricians will help address this issue.

Anderson also points out that "mental and physical health are not mutually exclusive. Our mental health affects our physical health and vice versa." And for Anderson, the impact of this shift in thinking has powerful potential. Thinking about mental health in the context of a child's overall health "shapes our overall health and wellness across the lifespan."

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