At JoyRx, we’re dedicated to fostering a safe, nurturing, and supportive workplace for our team. In light of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we are committed to strengthening the mental well-being of our staff — because when helping children find their Joy, it’s important that we find Joy, too.
Naturally, it can be hard to practice wellness when working in an environment surrounded by pediatric illness. We asked our JoyRx team how they foster their mental health in their roles.
Here’s what they had to say.
Finding the Joy in JoyRx
“I try to keep a sense of humor, schedule a monthly massage, and get together with supportive friends regularly.” — Kacy Smerke, Director of Programs, PNW
“I foster positive mental health by doing things that bring me Joy — going for walks, listening to podcasts, and really just taking some time to do nothing at all.” — Salma Ruiz, JoyRx Mentorship Specialist
“When it comes to fostering positive mental health, I prioritize making time for mindfulness. I find this to be especially important early in the week. Even just taking 10 minutes to listen to a quick mindfulness exercise makes a world of difference in my week.” — Curtis Carroll, Director of Philanthropy
“What we do comes with a very complex set of emotions. Our purpose is Joy, but we carry it into some joyless situations. Having my coworkers to talk with, to validate my feelings through sad times, and support me is a huge part of maintaining my mental health. We all experience similar situations and understand each other! But giving space for the hard and unhappy things is part of that, too.” — Kelsey Kirchenbauer, JoyRx Music Digital Live Program Specialist
“I work very closely with our families to help share their treatment journey. I try to approach the role with a sense of gratitude through the ability to establish a relationship with the families and their children, enabling their story to inspire the healing power of Joy. I’ve heard from a few families that sharing their stories feels therapeutic and supports their healing process, so I often take time to reflect on those positives!” — Haley Ellison, Senior Director of Communications
Championing Mental Health
Since 1949, May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, a month where the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Mental Health Awareness Month champions for fighting against stigma, providing support, educating the public, and advocating for policies that support the millions of people in the United States affected by mental illness.
This year, NAMI celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month with the “More Than Enough” campaign. It’s an opportunity for everyone to come together and remember the inherent value we each hold — no matter our diagnosis, appearance, socioeconomic status, background, or ability.
“We want every person out there to know that if all you did was wake up today, that’s more than enough,” says their website. “No matter what, you are inherently worthy of more than enough life, love, and healing. Showing up, just as you are, for yourself and the people around you is more than enough.”
Our work is not always easy — we advocate for Joy in the pediatric healthcare experience but know the reality of what serious illness brings to children and their families. It can be a lot to handle, and that’s why we emphasize wellness and emotional well-being at JoyRx.
But in the spirit of this year’s theme, we can confidently say: We are more than enough. Even just a small glimmer of a song, a new friendship, a moment of respite on the Oregon Coast — that can mean everything for a family.
Joy, no matter how big or how small, is always more than enough.