TO: UCSB Staff and Faculty

FR:  Pati Montojo, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) Manager, Human Resource

RE: May is National Mental Health Awareness Month


May is a time to raise awareness about mental health and help reduce the stigma that many people encounter. There is no shame in seeking mental health support and services, in fact - it's a sign of resilience.

We invite you to dedicate a few minutes each day to support your mental health. Today, let’s focus on Mindful Breathing. It is a short practice that’s scientifically proven to build stress resilience and enhance overall well-being. Slow, deep breathing activates your nervous system’s relaxation response, reducing tension in your body and mind.

Take two minutes to try this Mindful Breathing practice.

*If you are pregnant do not hold your breath.

1. Sit comfortably in a chair, with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap.

2. Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of four, allowing the air to fill your belly.

3. Hold the breath in for a count of four.

4. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four.

5. Observe and accept your experience in this moment without judgment, paying attention to each inhale and exhale.

6. Repeat the sequence a few more times.

Ideally, repeat this exercise for a few minutes, several times a day or whenever you feel stressed. Practicing Mindful Breathing regularly will help you feel calmer and more relaxed.

ASAP can help you get the mental health care you deserve. Schedule an appointment to conveniently work with an ASAP Psychologist or an off-campus Octave therapist who partners with our UCSB health insurance plans (Anthem, MHN).