Coalition Shares Old School Survival Tips
By Dianne Anderson
Food foraging and toilet paper are at the top of everyone’s to-do list lately, and staying upbeat in these trying times will take some creative effort.
It’s not impossible.
Linda Hart, with the African American Health Coalition, said that being confined in tight quarters with loved ones for the next week or so could be a good thing over the long haul.
She said that the community can help protect themselves both psychologically and physically. They can start by getting to know some of the people they have lived with, probably for years.
“I think this elevates us to higher levels, families coming back together, people taking more inventory on their families, and caring for each other,” she said.
She recommends the community pull some old school survival tools out of the bag.
Everyone can deploy techniques to help protect themselves, such as prayer, meditating on the happy spaces and places of their lives, and getting back to basics like listening and watching nature shows.
Getting the heart rate up with cardio and strength training exercises, are good choices to burn off calories or anxiety in a positive way. Music and dancing are also great choices.
“Watch something funny. Some people say this isn’t a good time. What better time? You have to keep up hope,” she said.
For herself, she normally leans on the serious side, but she noticed that when times get tough her personal coping mechanism is to help others get through their pain.
“When pressure comes on me, I get like comic relief. In tight situations you have to think outside the box,” she said.
Recently, Hart’s nonprofit was awarded a grant from Riverside County to expand her AAMHC efforts to reach the wider community there to reduce the stigma of mental health and provide access to resources.
While she has not received a grant from San Bernardino County Behavioral Health, she continues to offer AAMHC services where she can, but it has been hard to come out of pocket. She has not seen the kind of outreach she believes that San Bernardino County needs to meet the needs of the Black community.
As a mental health and health professional, Hart outreaches in several ways. She connects clients to resources and information on adjacent services. She engages social media, and works closely with California Black Health Network, as well as with Covered California.
Things are rough now, but as society adapts, she feels the world and community will emerge in a better place.
She said more employers may realize it costs them less overhead to have people work from home. As family members spend less time in traffic, they may be able to reconnect with their families.
“A lot of people are working at home on their computers. I think we’re moving to a new age even though unfortunately we got pushed through these circumstances,” she said.
Even though people are forced to stand away from each other in lines, she said strangers seem to be more talkative than before.
“I talk to people I probably would have never talked to under different circumstances,” she said. “I see people reaching out more, that’s all mental health.”
Hart is the founder of the African American Health Coalition. She offers regular community workshops, at-home presentations, outreach worker trainings, and peer-led support groups.
Fortunately, with the grant the nonprofit received from Riverside County, she is excited about broadening their net to provide more help. Her recent expansion of services includes the African American Health Coalition Community Mental Health Outreach Promoters for the western, midwest, and desert region of Riverside County.
The phones have been ringing.
“They’re calling to access services and we’re referring people over to other agencies to provide services for them. Those services range from utility bills all the way to housing, access clinicians, and therapists,” she said.
For more information, see www.theaamhc.org <http://www.theaamhc.org/