Mental Health: Paying Attention

This past Wednesday was World Mental Health Day and we reflected on the wellness of the immigrant and refugee families we serve and also on our own self-care and wellness needs.

I am very grateful to IIIC’s Wellness team, Rachel Reisman LICSW, Siobhan Kelly and Ann-Marie Byrne for all their caring and professional work with immigrant families throughout the year. They work tirelessly to support immigrants through free, confidential, and culturally responsive counseling, case management, and community engagement.

Many immigrants are experiencing greater fear, anxiety, and isolation these days, and wellness support is critical. Immigrants are facing serious obstacles in gaining legal status and delays in reuniting their own families, while others are simply trying to stay safe in the midst of increased ICE activity. Our Wellness team is here to make sure these families do not go through this journey alone, and they are always available to chat, to problem solve, and to figure out the next best steps.

We know that “mental health can affect anyone any day of the year” and it is clear to me that everyone has their own story, and a connection to someone who suffers from a mental health matter.

If you haven’t read, or heard, Brené Brown speak, check out her talks online. Brené is inspiring, encouraging and has something to say about vulnerability and resilience.

Finally, allow me to share a poem from the Irish poet, John O’Donohue below.

Wishing you a restful and rejuvenating weekend.


Beannacht / Blessing
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
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