Resilience in numbers: Climbing toward better mental health
Learning the ropes of good mental health with Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare.
One of the first things you’re taught when rock climbing is how to fall. And while we can all agree that falling isn’t fun, it is inevitable in climbing as it is in life. And being prepared for those moments when you are falling can make all the difference.
Our new (anxious) normal
It’s been over a year since COVID-19 broke, shaking every aspect of our lives. Despite the regularly updated numbers, it’s difficult to quantify how the pandemic has affected the quality of people’s lives and well-being.
What we do know is that mental health has been impacted significantly as COVID-19 has left many feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and helpless. Developing a plan to deal with stress not only helps our own health, it can also help us be more present for loved ones.
You can’t climb alone
Even though you can climb solo, it isn’t recommended and lacks the spirit of camaraderie needed when you face a difficult route. When dealing with a difficult time, it’s important to know who to reach out to and what support system you can rely on.
Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) offers many resources that can help alleviate feelings of anxiety or isolation during these trying times.
• Call the Emotional Helpline at 013-870-1919 to contact a mental health professional. This confidential service is available to all Aramco employees, and their family members.
• If you are registered for care with JHAH, our Mental Health services provide video visits.
• Speak to your primary care physician or call the Emotional Help Line to discuss this option.
Communicate your needs
Climbing requires communication. The rope holding you up is being controlled by a belayer at the bottom, and it’s critical the two of you communicate well to prevent a bad fall or accident.
When talking to your therapist, counselor, or partner, learn to communicate your needs. Think of your relationship as one held by a rope. Tell them when you need more slack to explore something new and take up more space, or when you need some resistance to keep you anchored.
Communicating exactly what you need when you need it will help your loved ones and health care provider understand how to be there for you. You’ll also feel more in control of your life and well-being.
Time and patience
When you first start climbing a route, it can seem challenging, even daunting. Knowing when to stop and take a break is important. Sometimes, you require a different technique, and sometimes, you just need a different mindset.
What seemed difficult yesterday may not be so hard today. So be compassionate with yourself and take as much time as you need to rest and recover to avoid burn out. It may seem like an inconvenience right now, but you’ll thank yourself for that dose of self-love in the long run.
If you are suffering from feelings of depression, stress, or isolation, call the JHAH Emotional Help Line, 013-870-1919, available Sunday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If you need further support, you may be referred for additional services or to alternative resources best suited to help you. In case of an emergency, please visit or call the nearest Emergency Department.
Here to help
Expand your resilience with the JHAH Mental Health Tool Kit.
This is a downloadable booklet that guides you through the strategies to increase your emotional well-being and to help others. Scan the QR code to download the booklet or visit JHAH.com and search Mental Health Tool Kit.