Fall. The leaves start changing. The temperature drops. Sunrise and sunset times shift.

Routines change— some with the start of the new school year and others with work, new projects, and new friends. This could be a time that we are confronted with situations that feel overwhelming and it can also be a time to focus on identifying our thoughts and feelings and raising depression awareness. Recognizing these new beginnings can help guide us towards taking action. This is a chance to raise our awareness to what’s happening in the world and to us emotionally. It’s a chance to be present and focused as we face the changes that come with this new season.

Mary Waldon, LCSW says, “Taking time to slow down, settle in, and tune-in to the moment has been shown to provide relief from depression, anxiety, and other challenges, as well as build resilience over time.” I encourage you to not only embrace this change in season and take the opportunity to be mindful, but to also see how you can promote change within the communities around you. It’s a good time to encourage students and young people to make their own changes in their mental health.

The transition between summer and fall holds a lot of power and value. Some may be starting a new school year or a new job—both of which can be overwhelming. We can take this time to change how we discuss and teach mental health. We need to refocus our mind and embark on transitions and set new goals regardless of where you are in life. Being intentional this fall, and choosing your thoughts and actions can help make a smoother, more powerful and positive transition.
Even organizations go through change with each new season. For example, Erika’s Lighthouse recently launched a new website in time for the new school year to enhance how our partners use our programs and resources. We made it easy for educators to find our depression awareness materials that help alleviate some of the stress that the start of the school year brings.

Our thoughts have so much power over us as we think about ourselves, others, mental health, and life itself. Circling back to the impact the change in season has on teens and other young people, resources like our depression awareness campaign are powerful ways to help teens change their thoughts about mental health and stigma. Take this time to help raise awareness, break stigma and spread empathy.

What changes will you choose? Transform your thoughts into positive, hopeful messages and encourage others to do the same. Observe how a shift in thinking in a time of change can help protect and enhance lives.

Be sure to visit www.erikaslighthouse.org to learn about educating and raising awareness about adolescent depression, encouraging good mental health and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

September is suicide prevention awareness month. If you or someone you know is in need of help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the crisis line by texting LISTEN to 741-741.

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