Mental Health Awareness Month: Check-in Challenge & Contest
May – Mental Health Awareness Month – is the perfect time to support the mental health of our community.
This month, we challenge you to “check in” with yourself, neighbors and more by asking how they’re doing and really listening to their answer. You can do this in person, by phone, email, text or more. A small effort can have a big impact!
We’re also hosting an art and word contest with a “check-in” theme for children to help inspire, inform, reflect and heighten community awareness of the importance of mental health, while also reducing stigma.
CHOC Check-In Challenge
Here’s how the check-in challenge works: Each week in May, you’ll check in with a different key community group. Complete all five weeks; just pick one person or group to check in with; or simply make a commitment to check in with yourself this May.
Follow our blog for a roadmap, including some key strategies, phrases, questions and more to get the conversation started.
- Week 1 (May 3 – 9): Caregiver – Those who are always looking after others often put themselves last. Make them first on your list to check in with this week.
- Week 2 (May 10 – 16) : Strong friends – Those in your life who you look up to for strength are often pillars for many others. Who is checking on them? Make it a point to check in on your “strong friends” this week.
- Week 3 (May 17 – 23): Yourself – Who me? Yes, you. How are you really doing? What does it look like to check in with yourself? What are you doing to take care of yourself this week?
- Week 4 (May 24 – 30): Neighbor – Maybe it’s time to do more than look away or wave when you see your neighbor. Introduce yourself and ask how they have been getting along during this time.
- Week 5 (May 31 – June 6): Essential Workers – These are the people in our lives who are sometimes under-appreciated, who keep our world going. Think to check in on the grocery store clerk, your waiter, mail carrier and delivery person. Make them feel seen by asking how they are doing.
Now for some questions and answers.
What does checking in mean?
“Checking in” means supporting the mental health of ourselves, family, friends, neighbors, people who are isolated or frail, caregivers and others who serve our community by asking how they are doing – and then waiting for the answer. Checking in can be done in person, by phone, email or video chat, or by sending a note in the mail or messaging them on social media.
Why is checking in important?
There are many reasons why this simple step can go a long way:
- Checking in can help people feel supported and identify that you are someone they can turn to when they are in need.
- COVID-19 precautions can intensify feelings of loneliness.
- Many people are taking on additional roles during the pandemic and are feeling overwhelmed.
- Checking in helps people identify, validate and begin to process emotions that they are feeling.
- It also builds a healthy habit of something we should do for ourselves to self-assess and self-regulate, promoting positive mental health.
CHOC Mental Health Art & Word Contest
School-aged children were invited to submit visual and written art addressing the theme of “Checking In” and an overall goal to inform, reflect and heighten community awareness around mental health, while also reducing stigma.
Winners were selected from three age groups. View the winning entries here:
Middle school art
Middle school word
High school art
High school word
Thank you to all who entered the Mental Health Art & Word Contest! Keep checking in on yourselves and others. Watch this video to see more entries.
Resources to Get Through These Challenging Times
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed what day-to-day life looks like for everyone, causing anxiety and stress for grownups and kids alike. That’s why at CHOC, we’re providing expert mental health resources and tools, so you can get the support you need for yourself, your family and your community.
Meditation, deep breathing, stretching and a light walk are all great ways to check in with yourself. Listening to music can help too! This playlist was created by CHOC’s music therapy team to do just that.