Eight Resolutions for the New Year and All Year Long

Whether to improve ourselves or the world around us, we can all partake in small changes that can create a big difference. Here are some ways you can make the best out of 2013:



1. Support a friend or family member with mental illness.

If you are concerned that a friend or family member is struggling with depression, anxiety or another mental disorder, the best thing you can do is speak up. Dealing with mental illness can be lonely, isolating and frightening, so let the person know that they are not alone.

“I have and will continue to support my friends, family or even strangers with mental illnesses,” says Steven Gaugn from North Park.

2. Get involved in community events.

Participating in community events is a fun way to connect with others while helping a good cause. The Save a Life San Diego, Out of the Darkness and NAMI walks are just a few of the great community events held annually here in San Diego.

Montbleau & Associates, an architectural woodwork, corporate furniture and casework company in San Diego, sponsored the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention San Diego Chapter’s Out of Darkness Community Walk in 2012 and its team members pledge to walk again in 2013.

3. Exercise and improve your mental health as a result.

Mental health is part of our overall health and well-being. Being mentally and physically fit allows us to handle life’s inevitable challenges, build strong relationships and bounce back when life throws us a curve ball. When we take care of our bodies, we also experience greater mental and emotional well-being. For example, exercise not only strengthens our heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.

“As a jiu jitsu instructor I have trained people who have suffered with depression and other mental illnesses in the past and have seen it help people in many ways. I pledge to continue helping others in 2013,” says Michael Cusi, co-owner of The Stronghold CrossFit & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Point Loma

4. Volunteer

Volunteering positively benefits the community and it also enables you to meet new people, gives you a sense of achievement and can help you develop new skills and career options. Visit www. volunteersandiego.org and under “Search Projects” type in “mental health”.

“We founded Answers For Adam to help teens facing suicidal thoughts and get those at risk the help they need by offering benefit concerts to show them that the community cares,” say Shiloh Cook, 21, and Samantha Zimlich, 22.

5. Participate in intergenerational activities.

Intergenerational activities bring young and old together to stay active, have fun and learn from each other. Aging and Independence Services offers a variety of programs to assist seniors with staying active, healthy and involved in their communities. For more information about intergenerational and other programs and services offered by Aging and Independence Services call (800) 510-2020.

“I pledge to continue to help treat my depression with my medication, but also in other healthier ways such as continuing my art, writing, exercising, connecting with others and forcing myself not to be isolated,” says Margaret Gordon-Espe, an older adult from Golden Hill.

6. Get trained in QPR.

QPR—which stands for Question, Persuade and Refer—is a one-hour training during which individuals learn to recognize warning signs, what questions to ask and how to offer hope and help. QPR trainings are offered at no cost in San Diego. Contact Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) at: (858) 609-7967

7. Speak Up about mental illness.

Too often mental illness and suicide are taboo subjects. There is no shame in having a mental illness. Making a difference starts with having a conversation and talking about these topics.

“We have allowed the It’s Up to Us campaign to place Spanish suicide prevention materials in our market and will continue to support the campaign in 2013,” says Rene Escamilla, a worker at Tony’s Produce, a Hispanic market in Clairemont.

8. Read Up about symptoms of mental illness and treatment options, listen to personal stories and find local resources at www.Up2SD.org.

“I pledge to be a supportive friend and visit the Up2SD.org website to learn more about mental illness,” says Beth Honrade from Mira Mesa.