Blog

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

For the last 10 years, October has been designated as Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.  As this important month draws to a close, I wanted to write a quick post with some information and links for those in need, as well as some thought provoking questions related to this topic. 

I have seen the traumatic consequences that can result of bullying - anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, suicide attempts, and more.  As a therapist, I am committed to doing everything I can to offer support to those who are unfortunate victims of bullying.  In addition, it is of critical importance that prevention and awareness be addressed, as well.  

I have long supported efforts like The Trevor Project (www.thetrevorproject.org) and It Gets Better (www.itgetsbetter.org) - two wonderful organizations that aim to prevent mental health crises (like suicide) by offering support and resources to those in need.   Knowing there are others out there who may be in a similar circumstance can be incredibly helpful, which is a core belief of both of these organizations. 

The National Bullying Prevention Center has a similar program called You're Not Alone (http://www.pacer.org/bullying/yourenotalone/).  Their website states the purpose is:

"Creating communities that are together against bullying - and united to provide kindness, support and hope for those who have experienced bullying, through conversation, education, and inspiration." 

Visit their website for information on how to be there for someone who has been bullied/is being bullied, inspiring messages from others, and printable resources to use at home and in the classroom.  Therapy can be a beneficial way for children, adolescents, and adults to begin to heal from the hurt and trauma of being bullied.  The You're Not Alone website states, "Kindness, support, and hope are things everyone can give."

Remember, you are not alone and it gets better.  

May is Mental Health Month

Many years ago, Mental Health America designated the month of May as "Mental Health Month."  The purpose of this is to bring awareness to the public about mental illness and to inform everyone that treatment is available.  Many other organizations, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) also promote this month as a way to provide education and hopefully reduce the stigma that is still present regarding mental illness.

The theme for this year is "Get Connected" to emphasize the critical role that social relationships play in the lives of those who suffer from mental illness.  As a therapist, I also believe it is crucial for my patients to identify who is a positive support system and healthy ways to communicate with these people.  For instance, some people use texting as a quick and easy way to convey thoughts or feelings to loved ones.  But, for others, texting causes anxiety due to the nature of immediacy and using more traditional methods (phone call, in person visit) are more helpful.  I enjoy working with people to help them recognize their healthy support system and also ways that they can "Get Connected" with them to help in times of need. 

I encourage all of you to take this opportunity to think about your own mental health.  Maybe you are already in therapy or maybe it is something you have been considering for a long time.  Unfortunately, there is still a negative connotation with getting help for mental health in our country.  We can fight the stigma together by talking about mental illness, providing education to the public, and by encouraging those who need services to get the help they deserve.  If you or someone you know is in need of mental health therapy, contact me via email at hillary@hillarywasson.com.  I look forward to hearing from you!
 

New Counseling Services and Office in Peoria, IL!

Hello! As some of you may know, my name is Hillary Wasson and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker right here in Peoria, IL. I've been very blessed over the last 10 years with my career in social work. I have worked in community based settings, inpatient hospitalization units, and outpatient clinics. I have learned so much from the amazing people I've encountered along the way and I can never express enough gratitude to those who have supported me and guided me along the way. And now, it's time for a new adventure!

Opening April 6, 2015 - I will have my own private practice office! Hooray! I'm super pumped to be able to fill a big space with all of my toys and to have a spot truly be *mine.* The landlord and realty company allowed me to paint and are also letting us install new flooring, etc. It's a process but we are getting there! Here is a progress picture of me taking a moment to relax after FINALLY finishing the primer!

Peoria, IL Therapist Hillary Wasson Office Renovation

I'm super pumped to be moving forward and can't wait to meet some new faces while getting to do what I love - helping to empower individuals, children, and families to lead the best lives they can. Bye-bye for now!