GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – May is Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than one in five adults live with a mental illness.How they cope matters. A Lansing woman who turned her trauma into a career helping others shares how to positively manage her mental health.
Angela Hook didn’t know it at the time, but when she was just nine years old, a childhood trauma left her suffering from anxiety and depression. At first she turned to cigarettes, then her methods of struggle became more serious.
“Cigarettes got me into alcohol, alcohol got me into marijuana, that got me into crack,” Hook said.
To keep up with her addiction, she stole, got in and out of bad relationships, and went against her faith.
It affected her life, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. She had kids at the time and couldn’t be the best mom she could be. Until one close call changed her life.
“I remember being high and I ended up rolling over on top of my son and when I woke up my son was blue and barely breathing,” Hook said.
Hook credits her four-month-old son with being her guardian angel at the time and pushing her to get the help she needed. She joined Narcotics Anonymous and began counseling to address the causes of her anxiety and depression so she could heal.
Today, she is 30 years sober with two master’s degrees and works as a licensed professional counselor to help others with their mental health.
“I always talk to people about how God has led me through situations and share my story so people know you don’t have to stay in the rut you’re in, there is hope,” Hook said.
She also shows them how to do what she didn’t – cope in a healthy way. Instead of turning to destructive habits like drugs and alcohol, she encourages people to try things that cheer them up. For example, seeing a counselor, focusing on self-care, eating right and exercising, practicing stress management techniques like journaling, and practicing mindfulness.
“We need to advocate for mental health, we need to know that there’s nothing wrong with saying I need help,” Hook said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, here are some resources from National Institute of Mental Health:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): For general mental health information and to find treatment services in your area, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA also has a Behavioral health treatment services on its site, which is searchable by location.
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
Call or text 988
Lifeline provides 24/7 confidential support to anyone experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call or text 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
Veterans Crisis Line
Use it Veteran crisis chat on the web
The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource that connects veterans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a trained first responder. The service is available to all veterans and their supporters, even if they are not enrolled with the VA or enrolled in VA health care.
If you’re worried about your friends’ social media updates, you can contact the security teams at the social media company. They will reach out to connect the person with the help they need.
Browse through 5 Steps to Help Someone Suffering from Emotional Pain Infographics to learn how you can help those in need.