Angelica Dones, a staff member of the Mensana Center, will be hosting three support groups for dealing with anxiety and depression at the John C. Hart Memorial Library starting this month.
The groups, led by Dones, will provide teens and young adults a chance to speak about their mental and emotional challenges, as well as educate individuals in coping mechanisms to deal with depression and anxiety. The effort is aimed at young adults 16 to 25 years old.
The first session will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 3. The group will begin by introducing individuals, establishing a judgment-free, safe zone using anxiety-friendly ice breakers.
Dones, a Walter Panas High School graduate, earned her associate’s degree in psychology from Westchester Community College.
Currently, she is pursuing her bachelor’s in psychology from Mercy College.
As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, Dones found that one of the best coping mechanisms is peer support.
“People feeling less alone is one of my top goals for this group,” Dones said.
Dones lost a close friend to suicide shortly after high school, which led her to pursue a degree in psychology.
That friendship she had inspired the group and Dones hopes people will make positive connections within the group that will bloom into support outside of it.
“If they made a friend like I had and they can talk to them about issues, then you might be able to stop someone from making that ultimate choice,” Dones said. “The suicide rate is so unbelievably high, there has to be a different way to go about things.”
Dones, who works at a mental health care facility, said she sees some teenagers come in three times a week, just to speak to someone, which can be expensive even with insurance.
“Ultimately, my end goal, I’d like there to be a high school class on mental health awareness and basic life skills all in one, but that’s reaching for the stars right now,” Dones said. “I definitely want them to feel less alone and there’s nothing wrong with struggling with your mental health.”
Dones also hopes to educate people about warning signs, as well as offer advice on coping mechanisms other than medication.
“At the end of the day, you as an individual should be able to assess what’s going on in your mind and kids aren’t able to do that at this point,” Dones said.
She hopes that individuals can gain support and coping skills so that they can be used in adult life.
The next two workshops will take place at the John C. Memorial Library at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, and Thursday, Dec. 5.
For more information on the group, visit: yorktownlibrary.org/programs-2/