Self Care is Essential

By Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr.
September 1, 2021

It’s amazing how fast time passes. Three quarters of the year have flown by, the kids are back in school and the fall season will be upon us soon. Parents will begin helping their children with homework, ball games at school will begin, along with the many fall holidays.

As we all continue to experience life with a pandemic, we understand that it has had an impact on all of us, emotionally, mentally and physically. It is important that we take care of ourselves for one another, our families, and our communities.

I wanted to highlight the importance of taking care of ourselves as September is Self-Care Awareness Month. Often, we tend to go about our daily lives without stopping to set aside some time for ourselves. Protecting our physical and mental wellbeing has to be a priority in our life. You don’t have to feel guilty about taking some time for yourself. It can be simple as getting some sleep, spending time outside, or mindful meditation. Taking an active role in self-care tends to lessen the feelings of despair and hopelessness.

September is also Suicide Prevention Month. Choctaw Nation recognizes the importance of suicide prevention.

In 2016, Chief Batton signed a proclamation declaring September as Suicide Prevention Month. The proclamation urged all employees and tribal members to work towards reducing the stigma for mental health-seeking behaviors, speak out about suicide prevention, and make others aware of the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Native Americans between the ages of 10 and 34 in 2019.

The Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority (CNHSA) encourages associates to understand that one suicide is too many. CNSHA embraces the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration concept of ‘Zero Suicide’ and is trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation.

If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, please don’t hesitate to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. Your life matters. You are not alone, and help is available. God bless.