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Raising Healthy Minds

Don’t treat your mental health on an island

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Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018 6:00 am

For this last edition of “Raising Healthy Minds” of 2018, I wanted to take a more personal approach. I launched this column in hopes it would inform the community on how to live healthier, peaceful lives. I’ve had the privilege to discuss important topics in mental health and wellness including domestic violence prevention, child abuse and suicide awareness. It would firstly not be possible without Ena Sellers, former managing editor who gave me her approval, and to current managing editor Ken Buday, who has continued his support of me successfully running it. There are so many other people to mention and I will do my best to give you all due credit.

A first special thanks to Dr. Katherine Perez of the Jacksonville Children’s Multispecialty Clinic, who was the panelist for my first official column. I owe so much to Debra Burns of Marine Corps Family Advocacy Lejeune-New River and her fellow staff. They have provided a great deal of insight and wisdom that comes from years of practice. Also, a special thanks to Kathleen Holbrook, Sara Ellis and Ayrien Davis of the Onslow County Partnership For Children for serving as sources of knowledge on the topic of child abuse awareness. Lastly, to Dawn Stallings and Nora Vargas of the Onslow Women’s Center who help me to tackle the tough issues of teen dating violence and sexual abuse.

I want to thank every reader who has read “Raising Healthy Minds” and made it the success it has been this year. My message this week is to simply reach out. It takes incredible strength to admit when you need guidance for anything, especially something as personal as mental health. It’s one of the hardest things you could do, but is well worth it. We are born interdependent on others and it continues throughout life. Whether asking a teacher questions in class, our parents for marriage advice or a mentor for career counseling, we need others. No one can nor has to do it all alone.

Take advantage of every mental health resource out there, from credible websites with informative articles to seminars and clinics from local health organizations. Mental health is getting its due spotlight and discussions are happening in many places. I truly believe stigma is being defeated one attitude at a time, and great progress has been made. Please continue that progress. Make mental health a priority in your marriage, your family, your work and your community. Eat well, exercise regularly, get adequate rest and do enriching activities you enjoy.

That is not selfish. Taking care of yourself makes you better for every other role and task in which you find yourself. Letting yourself deteriorate does no one any good. Bring up health concerns to your physician. Have at least one trusted friend you can call on if you need to process something with which you are struggling. Let others help provide you with solutions. A listening ear and fellow presence to walk along life’s paths with can do the greatest good.

Take care of yourselves this holiday season. Enjoy every moment with your loved ones. Life is precious and so are you. Keep that beautiful mind strong in the new year.

For local mental health resources, visit For information on mental health awareness, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness at

Editor’s note: “Raising Healthy Minds” is a monthly column that sheds light on mental health in youth. DeWitt holds a B.S. degree in Psychology from Regent University. Facts not attributed are the opinions of the writer.

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