Sexual Assault Awareness Month: What To Do If You Are Struggling This April

Helpful tips for prioritizing your mental health during this significant month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and while highlighting and acknowledging an issue is the first step to fixing it–thinking of personal issues is inevitable and distressing. Here are some tips to overcome uncomfortable thoughts and feelings this month based on what has helped me.


Take a social media break

Chances are, a lot of people will be talking about this month and its significance. If you find this to be overwhelming or triggering, consider taking a break from it as long as you need. This can look like:

  • Limit how much time you use social media each day
  • Stop using the apps/functions (instant messaging, posting, etc.)
  • Log out of the accounts you need a break from


Take time for yourself

Sometimes when we have confusing or unpleasant feelings, the best way to deal with them is to feel them—every emotion and feeling has a purpose. Allowing ourselves time to rest, reflect and recharge is sometimes all we need. To take care our ourselves, we should make sure:

  • That our basic needs are being met which will help our mental health in addition to our physical health (eating enough meals each day, getting enough rest and staying hydrated)
  • That we are allowing ourselves time to sit with our feelings. If you need time alone, but feel like you don’t have that opportunity, ask for it! Tell your roommate you need some time throughout the day to be alone. Take a drive or a bus ride. Take a walk by yourself. Go somewhere peaceful to sit down.
  • That we are doing things we enjoy. It is imperative that we allot time in our day to do things we want to do as it allows us time to relax and gives us a healthy distraction (read a book, journal, watch a movie or TV show, listen to music, play an instrument, draw or paint something, make a craft, hang out with friends, etc.).


Talk to someone you trust

Speaking with someone about what we are going through and how we are feeling can start helping us feel better. Talking with those we trust like family, friends and mental health professionals can help organize our thoughts. Below is a list of resources that can help in this area.

  • The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health has a variety of mental health resources and counseling, ranging from individual therapy sessions as well as group sessions. Crisis services are available at the 24-hour hotline: (413) 545-0800.
    • CCPH has specialty services including the Center for Women and Community where they focus on peer counseling, support groups and referrals geared towards sexual assault and abuse.
  • Resources outside of the UMass and Five College community can be hard and stressful to find. The following links including Psychology Today and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services can help you find mental health resources near you.
  • Clinical and Support Options is a group of behavioral health and substance abuse services with outpatient locations in the state. They encourage walk-in appointments at all locations. The closest walk-in center to campus would be the Northampton location. Call them at: (413) 582-0471
  • The Behavioral Health Network is a health provider in Western Massachusetts that offers services and programs to those of all ages. They have a 24-hour hotline: (413) 733-666. They also have a corporate office number: (413) 747-0705


While this may prove to be a difficult month for some, it’s important to know that there are many ways and resources that can guide us in the direction of healing and growth. Taking care of ourselves and each other is imperative.

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