Mental Health Resources

For St. Stephen’s Members-
Suzanne Perlman

Suzanne began her work with St. Stephen’s Church on February 27, 2006. She is responsible for meeting with parishioners and either providing direct counseling service or referring parishioners to individuals with the appropriate expertise or other resources in the local community.

Suzanne is a highly regarded professional with over thirty years of experience in clinical social work, clinical supervision, management, community education, teaching, employee assistance and corporate consulting.

Parishioners who are in need of counseling services can contact the Parish Counselor on a confidential basis and schedule and appointment.  If you are in need of this service call Suzanne at her office at 203-834-2497

While the world is starting to open up a bit–parks, beaches, outdoor dining and so on, we are still in the middle of the trauma, and not post crisis or post stress.  So we need to take breaks, to soothe ourselves, add positive activities to our routines, and do things you would normally do if you were feeling optimistic.  We need to concentrate on doing something we enjoy and practice gratitude to increase well-being and resilience.  We need to talk with others and foster a sense of community.  We need to be kind to ourselves, and not faulting ourselves.  No shoulda, woulda, coulda.And it goes without saying that we should practice mindfulness, noticing our emotions without judgments and gaining perspective, and accepting the difficulties to increase our emotional immune system.  As always, I am available to talk.  Call me at 203.834.2497.  Suzanne Perlman, Parish Counselor

Please know that even under the circumstances of sheltering in place that require us to stay in our homes, I am always available.  I am available by telephone to talk with you and support you.  It is especially hard for those with small children, who need all kinds of support , as do the elderly, college kids, and frustrated workers kept away from work, and friends, and worried about money and everyone else. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that Americans are among the world’s most stressed people with 55% of adults saying that they experienced stress a lot of the day.  That was before the pandemic and being masked and sheltered in place.  Most people want to stay informed on the current events but say that the news is a source of stress.  It is hard to avoid negative thoughts and catastrophising.  But there are ways to cope and to remind ourselves that we can and will prevail.  Some ways to do so are 1) to keep the facts in mind, don’t veer off into worries, 2) don’t jump to conclusions, 3) keep focused on reality based, solvable problems, 4) take good care of yourself, exercise, get enough sleep and food, and don’t beat yourself up for worrying, 5) Get involved, help others, volunteer with purpose, which calms powerlessness and anxiety.  Another good calming exercise is Tai Chi, also called meditation in motion, which is designed to calm and balance, reduce anxiety and increase physical strength.  There are “how-to” videos and tutorials on line.—Suzanne Perlman,  Parish Counselor

Other skilled counselors in our area

Ridgefield Healthy Heads and Hearts

A local team of mental health providers has convened to support the community and each other during these turbulent times.  Their information will be posted here this upcoming week. 

HUGE thanks to Tony Phillips, LCSW, Director of Social Services for Town of Ridgefield for collecting and facilitating the information.   https://bit.ly/2V2G4Ah

Helpful Links

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