May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this annual observance hits close to home for me, as a former single parent resident of Warren Village.
Warren Village is a Denver-based nonprofit organization that helps low-income, single-parent families achieve sustainable personal and economic self-sufficiency. I moved in with my 4-year-old daughter in August of 2019, hoping to build a new life after leaving a domestic violence situation. Little did I know that this decision would not only provide me with affordable housing and education opportunities, but also vital mental health services.
Before coming to Warren Village, I had already earned a certificate in medical assisting, but was struggling to make ends meet. I saw the nonprofit as an opportunity to not only continue my education and pay low rent, but also access a range of services such as career development, housing and personal finance, child development and, of course, mental health counseling.
It was just before COVID-19 struck that I began meeting with Pam, a counselor at Warren Village. In response to the pandemic, we shifted to virtual sessions. Despite the challenges, this counseling proved to be life-changing for me. I was diagnosed with PTSD and ADHD, and being able to work with a professional to organize my thoughts and feelings was a game-changer.
Since leaving Warren Village, I now own a home and possess the necessary resilience and coping skills to prioritize other aspects of my life, such as decorating my new house and providing my daughter with quality possessions without relying on government aid. I consider myself lucky to continue receiving help from Pam through regular counseling sessions, and I will always be appreciative to Warren Village for facilitating this connection.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial to prioritize your mental well-being. The recent pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, but particularly those who were already struggling with psychological issues.
So I urge all of us to take the time this month to focus on our mental health and well-being. It is not always easy to prioritize ourselves, but it is crucial to living a healthy and fulfilling life. Seek help now instead of potentially having problems compound over time.
Let us remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and work towards ending the stigma and ensuring that everyone has access to the care they need.
Jada Galassini is a resident of southeast Denver.