Mental Health Awareness Month Is a Good Time to Check In With Yourself

In today’s fast-paced, action-packed world, it can be hard to keep up with awareness days, weeks, or months. It seems there is a day, week or month for just about everything. While this can seem overwhelming, these designated times of awareness are good opportunities to reflect on the theme du jour and how it might apply to us.

May is Mental Health Month and as such, it is a perfect time to take a moment and reflect on ourselves and each other. Naturejobs Blog contributor Jack Leemy captured tips from psychologist Karra Harrington in a recent post. While the target audience is graduate students, the piece provides advice applicable to all. I encourage you to give it a quick read.

In particular, Ms. Harrington advises investing in a support network, seeking out peer and mentor relationships and finding out what resources are available to you and how to find them. These are all good points.

Look around. Who counts as your support network?  With whom have you developed relationships? Who are your trusted friends and mentors? Are you a part of someone else’s support network? Who are your peers, who might be able to speak to your experiences?

One way to expand your network is to get involved in one of the many  employee resource groups (ERG) at Argonne. You can find links to Women in Science and Technology Program (WIST), the Argonne African American (AAA) ERG, Spectrum, Chinese Association at Argonne and the Hispanic-Latino Club at the Leadership Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion page. Also, there is a new group for early career employees that is just getting up and running. As the Postdoctoral Program Lead, I am also here as a resource for postdocs, mentors and supervisors who might need some guidance on where to find resources.

Remember, too, that the lab provides the Employee Assistance Program as a benefit to all employees. The program is provided by Perspectives, Ltd., and provides a host of resources, self-directed learning opportunities, in addition to help connecting with a professional. The wellness app, Virgin Pulse, is another avenue to explore maintaining a healthy mindset and learn strategies for managing stress and being resilient.

Ms. Harrington ends her post by advising readers to ask for help and ask early. Connect with a colleague, forge a mentoring relationship, talk to a peer. Remember, we are all in this together.




About Kristene Henne

Kristene “Tina” Henne is Argonne’s Postdoctoral Program Lead for the Argonne Leadership Institute. In this role, she facilitates the postdoc appointment process, postdoc career development, mentoring, advises the Postdoctoral Society of Argonne and serves as a navigator for postdoctoral issues. Henne has a Ph.D. in biological sciences from Purdue University, a B.S. in biology from Governors State University, and an A.A.S. in radiography from Kankakee Community College. She came to Argonne as a postdoctoral researcher in the Biosciences Division in 2009 and became a program coordinator in 2011.
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