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  • Writer's pictureDr. Clifford Brown

Good morning from your Custer County Public Health Agency

In this time of tragedy, it is easy to focus on the horrendous events and loss our valley has experienced. Fear and shock readily leads to a self-protective withdrawal that can damage us emotionally no matter how strong and self-reliant we try to be.

One of the alternatives to mental health professionals such as those employed by a particular organization is to establish the option of a 24/7 involvement with friends. This does not need to be a formal or contractual arrangement, but rather a simple agreement between two or more people to answer the phone and spend some time in conversation at any time of day. Much of the time, discussion (sometimes called venting) proves therapeutic when we are struggling with stressors or concerns that feel overwhelming to us.

Trusted friends were there long before professionally trained mental health providers appeared in society and have served as sounding boards for thousands of years. Should you be considering doing harm to yourself, however, seeking out a mental health provider is the most proper course of action.

Times of sadness, hopelessness, and despair are times best spent with friends rather than sitting alone. Refocusing and discussing events or worries with others often helps us to work through problems. This conversation helps us to connect that we are usually not the only ones who have been confronted by a particular problem. Just knowing we are not alone is often helpful. Other people we know may have developed a strategy that may also work for us in resolving an issue.

Remember two facts: a wise man once said, "there is nothing new under the sun." This is the official time in our country for the giving of thanks, for the expression of appreciation for all of the positive moments we have received over the past year. Recalling these moments can serve to balance the sadness, the loss, and the maliciousness we see in the world. While we cannot thoughtfully give thanks for the attacks against us or our loved ones, we can give thanks even during the very cruel and hurtful seasons for the beauty, the kindness, and the gentle support we have received.

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