in the spotlight monthly Post

May is Mental Well-being Month

In the 2019 National Health Survey, 4.7% of adults aged 18 and over reported regular feelings of depression. In 2020 that grew to 6% or 14.8 million!

Suicide and Depression

We have all had days where we feel down. A failed project at work or an argument with a
friend can cause you to feel blue. But when you feel down or low for multiple days or weeks, you may be experiencing depression.

Clinical depression is defined as feeling down for an extended amount of time. Lack of sleep, difficulty concentrating, hopelessness about the future, or even thoughts of suicide are common symptoms of clinical depression. Untreated depression or mental illness is a major cause of suicide. An important way to take part in suicide prevention is to understand the issues that concern those in crisis and to help change the conversation around suicide and mental health.

Spot the Warning Signs

People who are contemplating suicide can show many signs,
but here are some of the common ones to look for.

  • Talking about wanting to die and/or talking about death often
  •  Starting a will and getting their affairs in order
  •  Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  •  Increased use of alcohol or drugs

Take Action

Five action steps for communicating with a friend or family member who may be contemplating self-harm:

  1.  Start a non-judgmental conversation. Ask “Are you thinking about suicide?”
  2.  Keep them safe from lethal items or places.
  3.  Be there, listen to them carefully, and acknowledge their feelings.
  4.  Help them connect with resources and professionals.

    • Make It OK provides support in dealing with stigma of mental health at

    • The NIMH Helpline can be reached Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET, at 1-866-615-6464 or by email at

    • Right Direction crisis hotline provides free information, tools, and resources to help raises awareness about depression in the workplace and demystify the symptoms and treatment options at or call 800-273-8255.

    The Trevor Project supports LGBTQ+ at and 866-488-7386.

    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 in the United States. Go to or call 1-800-273-8255.

    Beginning July 16, 2022, 988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the NSPL

  5. Stay connected with them and follow up often.
in the spotlight monthly Post

Why Exercising Is a Higher Priority Than My Career

FEB 15, 2017 1:25 PM EST Time Magazine

Below are excerpts from an article written by entrepreneur Joshua Steimle. While he speaks as a business owner, this can apply to anyone who finds exercise losing out on importance when life gets busy. It is a good reminder that your health has to come first and regular exercise is necessary component for good health.

“On any given day there are easily 100 important things I should be doing for my business, 50 of which are also urgent, but there is no way I can get more than 10 things done. Exercise must come first, or it’s unlikely to happen at all; as soon as I start pushing workouts off, I’ll start missing workouts, and once I start missing workouts, I’m close to stopping workouts altogether.

If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.

For a long time, I was fooled into thinking that if my business wasn’t the top priority, then that meant I wasn’t doing all I could do to make it successful. This is an understandable way of thinking, but it’s completely wrong. The trick is to figure out which ordering of priorities provides the maximum overall benefit. For example, when I exercise, that makes me better in every role I have, whether it’s as a husband, father, friend or entrepreneur. If I were to stop exercising because I felt that being a good business owner was a higher priority, then ironically I would end up a worse business owner than I was when it when it was a lower priority. Putting exercise first creates a win-win.”

Makes sense, but how do you start? Go to “6 Ways to Make Exercise a Priority” for ideas to get you started.

monthly Post stories

Rachel Handren

Rachel Handren began working for the Parks and Rec Center daycare program about six years ago. As a child, Rachel’s family moved around a lot. As a result, she made friends with children from many different cultures. Her childhood also included being involved with dance. She began lessons in fourth grade, participating in dance competitions and public performances. Rachel’s Northwest Como Rec supervisor, aware of her dance background and her ability to connect with children from many different cultures decided she would be the perfect person to develop and direct a dance program for children at this center.

Rachel began with creative movement classes for children aged 3-5; for elementary aged children she created jazz, ballet and hip hop classes. Classes were held once per week from September through May. As the program grew in popularity, Rachel expanded with more classes. During the summer when classes aren’t typically held, she began holding dance workshops to keep the momentum going. Last year, she added a dance competition league. This league competes in local competitions against private dance studios. Their competitors come from studios that are designed for dance with mirrored walls, ballet bars, etc. as opposed to the Rec Center gym used in Rachel’s classes. To help cover the cost of competition entrance fees, they have a fund raising booster club, set up snack tables, etc. They plan to have a fund raising chair for next season. There are 90+ students now involved in Rec dance classes and the competition league.

Besides teaching children to dance, Rachel’s goal is helping them become more fit. The competition league dancers took a baseline fitness test at the beginning of the year and then set their goals. Each class spent 15-20 minutes on strength, conditioning and flexibility exercises. They were required to practice routines and exercise outside of class as “practice makes progress”. By the end of the first year, every single dancer beat their own personal goal while also growing in the intricate skills it takes to be a competition dancer. The valuable skill of working as part of a team was also learned.

Rachel says she is so incredibly proud of how hard her students work especially on their own personal fitness goals and how they encourage each other to do better. She has dreams of having a real, dedicated space for the dancers in the future. We recognize Rachel for sharing her enthusiasm in bringing the joy of movement and fitness to so many kids, making a difference in their lives.