AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Three CSRA entities joined forces to provide a mental health summit to the Black community and beyond. A few experts shared how life is impacting our mind, body and soul in this pandemic era.

Fort Gordon Counselor and Leader Chaplain Jeff Dillard kicked off Mental Health Summit IX at Augusta University’s Summerville Campus telling attendees how to be expressive.

“Journaling on this piece of paper can be a way for you to exercise and kind of look at your own mental health,” he said holding up a yellow legal pad and a pen.

Letting emotions flow through writing. That’s just one of the tips several people from the CSRA learned about listening and examining themselves mentally and emotionally.

“Certainly our awareness of the need for attention to mental health has grown,” Chaplain Dillard said. “A lot of that [is] because of technology and people can speak their mind to thousands of friends in social media.”

He added that technology can also be a downfall because people replace virtual relationships with actual ones, which he said are always more gratifying. But it’s not all about how we connect with people, rather how we identify and connect with ourselves, something Olivia Tate told the crowd was under the microscope during the pandemic.

“People used to, who had been dealing with anxiety for a long time, used to be able to be busy and kind of work through the anxiousness at meetings, volunteering here, doing things at their church. All that stopped and now people were left at home with their thoughts,” Tate said adding that people were also dealing with depression more too during the pandemic.

She also spoke on intersectionality or the blending of identities. Tate said living that type of life can be oppressive for some and emphasized the struggles of Black women that transcend generations, pushing them to simply be well.

“Taking care of me doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going on a spa day. Taking care of me may mean let me sit down and cry for a little bit,” she said.

Leaders of both the alumnae and Augusta University collegiate chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated along with the Lucy C. Laney Museum of Black History Health Initiatives had a goal to reach the Black community and beyond.

“Each year, it’s a different emphasis and we’re just trying to make sure that we’re a whole community,” said Danita Myler, President of the Augusta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

And in its 9th year, the Mental Health Summit, they feel, accomplished that goal.

“We’re hoping that our attendees not only increase the skills in their toolbox, so that if they’re going through any issues or their families,” said Linda Johnson, Co-Chair of the Physical & Mental Health Committee for the Augusta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.