Holding On

Posted by Brenda Yoho

Are you holding on? What are you holding on to?

I like to ask questions of others, but I ask myself questions a great deal as well. It helps as you reflect and grow not only as a professional but as an individual.

In our world today, problems multiply faster than solutions are found. Anxiety and depression rise to the response of rapid fire, and it trickles down to touch the youngest members of our families and society.

More kids are dealing with anxiety and depression, as reported in Research Update: Children’s Anxiety and Depression on the Rise;

  • Even before the pandemic, anxiety, and depression were becoming more common among children and adolescents, increasing 27 percent and 24 percent, respectively, from 2016 to 2019.
  • By 2020, 5.6 million kids (9.2%) had been diagnosed with anxiety problems, and 2.4 million (4.0%) had depression.

As I asked questions, I reflected on mental health issues as October is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I concluded several points.


Anxiety and depression do not have a window from 2016-to the present day. The pandemic did create fear, anxiety and depression. As an educator, I can recall other times I have seen mental health and depression peak.

These reports and research are conducted frequently, but we continue to experience mental health increases. A strategic plan to support an active approach toward resolving mental health is needed.

These are some of the things I know from asking questions:

  • Mental Health providers are needed
  • Community active support for youth engagement is needed
  • Collaborative approaches to support members of our community are needed
  • Pointing fingers at problems I will accept; everyone can usually identify the issues; it is in finding the right solutions and taking action where we fall short
  • Action steps with a strategic plan are needed; we cannot throw a project together with bullet points and present it as the solution without follow-through.
  • Accountability

I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, and I tell you. “Don’t be afraid. I will help you.”Isaiah 41:13 NCV

Remember when you were little, and an adult would hold your hand when crossing the street? They would look down at you and say, “What do we do when crossing the street or walking in a parking lot?”

You’d repeat what they told you repeatedly in your little kid's voice: “We grab an adult’s hand and look both ways.” Goodness, I would love to see this happening more today. My youngest grandson has the most challenging time listening right now, so I understand it takes patience and working with children.

I think the world’s advice right now is what our parents taught us as children. Hold out your hand and grab hold tight. We do not need to be afraid, and remember, we have so much help! People will reach out and help. Remember the words of Isaiah 41:13.

If you need help, please reach out!

  • CALL 911
    • Emergency line for public safety emergencies, medical emergencies, and law enforcement
    • Provides limited de-escalation or emotional support; staffed with public safety answering point dispatch workers
    • Offers de-escalation under emergency situations rather than de-escalaction under a mental health crisis situation that 988 offers
    • If the public safety or medical emergency is pertaining to someone who has a mental health condition, or appears to be experiencing a mental health crisis, a crisis intervention team (CIT) trained officer with basic training in mental health crises may be available through 911 dispatch
    • Free, and available 24/7/365
  • CALL 988
    • Suicide prevention and mental health crisis lifeline
    • Access point to statewide community-based crisis resources such as mobile crisis outreach teams
    • Specialized intervention by certified crisis workers with advanced training in de-escalation and clinical suicide prevention
    • Confidential, free, and available 24/7/365
  • CALL 211/311
    • Resource support line the links callers to resources
    • Ability to transfer callers to the Lifeline Line
    • Free, and available 24/7/365
    • 311 is specific to Chicago and Cook County, while 211 is available in some select Illinois counties

Text the NAMI Helpline

  • Illinois Warm Line:
    1-866-359-7953
    • Free phone support for anyone living in Illinois to include emotional support, recovery education, self-advocacy support, and referrals
    • Staffed by Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS)
    • Not a crisis line, rather, works with callers to address aspects of their wellness by identifying triggers, developing action plans, and learning what is necessary to maintain wellness
    • Free, available Mon-Sat, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Text "HelpLine" to 62640.
Connect with a HelpLine Specialist when you need support, information and resources via text message.

Call the NAMI HelpLine

To talk with a NAMI HelpLine Specialist, please call 800-950-NAMI (6264).

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2023 Brenda Yoho
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