Help is available

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There has been a lot of difficult national news this week about suicide and struggles with mental health. If you or someone you know is struggling, know that help is available.

If you are in mental health crisis:

  • Twenty-four hours a day you can call Region Ten Emergency Services at (434) 972-1800, or dial 911.
  • Twenty-four hours a day you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Otherwise, for access to individual and group counseling:

  • For connection to local affordable mental health services through the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition, call (434) 227-0641 or visit www.helphappenshere.org
  • The Women's Initiative has free walk-in clinics for women three days a week and throughout the week we have free support groups as well.
  • On Our Own, a peer support recovery center for people dealing with mental health challenges, offers support groups throughout the week. 123 4th St. NW, Charlottesville. (434) 979-2440 or visit www.onourowncville.org

Self-care for working moms

The Women's Initiative provides vital mental health services for women during times of challenge and change, including all the ups and downs of parenting.

C-VILLE Weekly's Mother's Day cover story includes voices of three of our staff discussing the need for emotional support for new moms and those transitioning back to work. 

To complement the story, we put together a ...

Self-Care List for Working Moms

  • Be gentle with yourself and other moms: Often, we are our own worst critics. Set realistic expectations, let go of trying to do it all perfectly, and challenge cultural myths about “supermothering”
  • Prioritize sleep, healthy eating and healthy movement: These can be the first things to go when moms do everything for everyone else first, yet these basics are essential to your ability to care for yourself and others.
  • Lean on your support system: Foster connections with family and friends so that you can ask for help (for both practical things and emotional support) when you need it.
  • 5-minute stress reduction: Decompress throughout the day, and especially when transitioning from home to work and back. Try: Singing along to a favorite song, doing chest and shoulder stretches to open your heart, taking a short brisk walk, or eating a mindful snack.
  • Advocate for systems-level change: Speak up for improvements that move us toward equity in the workplace and parenting roles. If you can, encourage workplace innovation such as flex time, parental leave benefits, and childcare subsidies. Question assumptions about who holds the most parenting responsibility in the family.
  • When in doubt, reach out: Talk to your doctor, come to The Women’s Initiative free walk-in clinic or seek other professional help for emotional support.

Free support groups for moms at TWI

  • Moms With Babies Discussion Group: Support and community for moms with newborns to one-year-olds: Mondays, 10-11 a.m. 1101 East High St.
  • Mothering Circle of Charlottesville: Connect with other mothers, support each other, and share your stories in a safe, nurturing environment. Fourth Wednesdays of every month, 7-9 pm. 1101 East High St.

Click here for a full list of free groups and social support offerings at The Women's Initiative

Lead story: Women's resilience

Women's resilience was the lead story on NBC29's 11 o'clock news this Wednesday night, as reporter Victoria Wresilo featured the Challenge into Change program and the inspiring personal stories of hope and healing women shared.

About 150 people came out to Carver Recreation Center on Wednesday, April 18 to witness contest participants share their stories of transforming life challenges into opportunities for growth and renewal.

Congratulations to this year's contest winners:

First Place, Dr. Allison Kretlow, for her poem, “Four Year Old Faith”
Second Place, Bellamy Shoffner, for her essay, “Against Adversity, We Can Win”
Third Place (tie), Christa, for her essay, “Giving Birth”
Third Place (tie), Linda Martinussen, for her essay, “Ode to Elsa”

Purchase your copy of this year's Challenge into Change book, which includes stories and poems from our 81 participants, at New Dominion Bookshop on the Downtown Mall, 404 East Main Street, Charlottesville.

Read more about Challenge into Change.

Hear Together: The Women's Initiative

Have you heard? The Women's Initiative is featured on WNRN's "Hear Together."

Executive Director Elizabeth Irvin, LCSW, spoke with WNRN about our affordable, accessible, effective mental health counseling services for women in our region.

"Wanting to reduce as many barriers as possible, we created walk-in clinics as a chance for any woman to come in and be seen same-day, confidentially, with a therapist, and begin the journey of healing," Irvin says.

Click here to listen to the full segment.

Charlottesville Family Favorite Award Winner

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We're thrilled to be the recipient of a CharlottesvilleFamily Favorite Gold Award in the Support Group category and Silver Award in the Counseling Service category.

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Thank you to CharlottesvilleFamily and everyone who supports our vision that all women in our community have access to innovative, effective, evidence-based mental health care.

All winners are announced in the December issue of Bloom Magazine.

Our counseling services include free weekly walk-in clinics as well as individual counseling on a sliding scale. Our support groups, which are free, include Women's Support Group, Separation & Divorce Support Group, Sister Circle, and Pregnancy/Infant Loss Support Group. Read more about our free groups.