top of page

Personal Insights for Mental Health Awareness Month

Have you ever made it to the end of a long, busy day and realized you’re not quite sure how

you made it there? In the fast-paced world we live in, it’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in

checking things off the to-do list and scurrying from place to place in our busy schedules. It can be so challenging to slow down and truly experience this life you’re living. Over time, this can have a significant impact on your mental health—when your mental-emotional bandwidth is strained beyond capacity, it’s pretty hard to show up the way you want to in personal, social, and professional spaces. This may feel like chronic exhaustion, inability to focus, trying to do 3, 4, or 7 things all at once, racing thoughts, irritability, low motivation, chronic pain, or digestive problems. It can be hard to recognize when things aren’t going well until you reach a breaking point…but here’s the thing: none of us are on this journey through life alone, and what you’re experiencing is likely shared by others around you.

During this Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to remind you that it’s okay to not be okay and that even when things do feel okay, mental wellness requires attention and

maintenance to avoid reaching that breaking point. Think about physical fitness or learning a

new skill, it takes consistent, repetitive effort to reach physical goals, the same is true for

mental and emotional health.

Here at Medicine Horse we value the importance of felt connection and belonging in supporting mental well-being. Each month we offer a 90-minute guided Meditation with Horses to our community. This is an excellent opportunity to dedicate time to connect with yourself, fellow

humans, and the horses to get that bit of recharge we all benefit from as social beings.

You can also find information about psychotherapy with one of our team of therapists,

signature groups, and community happenings by exploring our website and signing up for our monthly newsletter. You can also follow us on social media! Remember, you are a part of the Medicine Horse community, you belong here. So let’s prioritize healthy living together by

tending to our mental-emotional health alongside some truly incredible horses, goats, sheep, and cats!

"The power of the horse/human relationship to my development as a person has

always intrigued me to work with animals and people. As a mental health professional

working in this field for over 10 years, I am a strong believer that a relationship with

animals can be very beneficial to a person’s mental health, promoting an authenticity

of self that is not always expressed in conventional therapy. Mental health awareness

is becoming increasingly more important as our culture shifts to a more technological

world, which inherently creates more isolation and limited in-person connection.

At Medicine Horse, we strive to provide programs and services that promote

connection with horses and other beings in an outdoor environment. Over the years, I

have observed that offering mental health services in a less traditional setting also

appears to help decrease the stigma for many around seeking support. Through

offering free and scholarship-based programming we strive to make services more

accessible and available to many groups that have historically had challenges with

access to mental health services."

Carina Kellenberger


Clinical Supervisor

Horse Care Lead

"Some people feel that there is a stigma around therapy, which can inhibit your own

feelings towards seeking support. Sharing your challenges and struggles with others

can lead to a greater sense of self, stronger connections, and healthier relationships. At

Medicine Horse, we consider each individual as unique and strive to partner with our

animals to help support and bolster your personal hopes and goals."

Dana Schultz


Clinical Liason

"Mental health awareness is crucial because it sheds light on an often overlooked

aspect of overall well-being. By raising awareness, we break down stigma, encourage

open conversations, and promote early intervention. Recognizing mental health

challenges helps individuals seek support, reduces discrimination, and fosters a more

empathetic society. Ultimately, prioritizing mental health awareness leads to better

understanding, acceptance, and support for those who may be struggling."

Casey Jorden


Clinical Task Supervisor

"For me, the greatest benefit I get from therapy--both as a therapist and as a client-- is

that it offers me a chance to be more present while in connection with others. In the

therapy space, I can contact a slightly fuller version of myself: I honestly notice feelings

that I tend to ignore; I hold understanding for aspects of myself I tend to despise; I

sense more possibility toward the worries that can make my life feel so constrained. In

my increasingly distracting world, in a world where being present and being connected

can feel surprisingly elusive, it can be a real gift for me to take an intentional hour each

week for that purpose; the work I do there seems to trickle out into the rest of my life.

As someone with a career in the field of counseling, it feels like an equal gift to offer

such presence and connection to others, especially alongside my equine co-facilitators,

who have so much to teach us about those things."

Michael Mahoney


"Growing up, I struggled with numerous challenges and grappled with a variety of

mental health issues. Looking back, I realize that many of my struggles were not

irrational but rather understandable responses to difficult and painful circumstances.

Recognizing the importance of mental health awareness, it becomes clear that

validating individuals' experiences is essential, reassuring them that they are neither

misguided nor isolated. Discovering the appropriate support proved pivotal for me,

enabling me to establish a deeper connection with myself, connect with like-minded

individuals, and cultivate the resilience necessary to confront life's obstacles while

embracing its wonders."

Midnite Townsend

Therapy Intern

"When I started my mental health journey about a decade ago it was tough to

acknowledge that I needed help managing symptoms of anxiety—only people with

“real” issues went to therapy. I have since learned that mental health maintenance is a

valuable part of self-care and living a healthy life. Working with mental health

professionals has helped me learn more about my inner world and improved how I

show up in my relationships with myself and others. As I enter the field as a mental

health professional myself, and include interactions with horses to enhance the

therapeutic process, I am appreciating the importance of authentic connection and

having a safe space to show up as you are to navigate the complexity of life alongside

others—human and non-human alike."

Nicole Murray

Therapy Intern

"Tending to my mental health is one of the most significant aspects of my self-care. If

my thoughts are racing, I’m creating unreasonable expectations for myself and others,

or if I’m just not being kind to myself, my overall feelings of peace and satisfaction

diminish greatly. I’m less able to be present and attuned to the important beings in my

life. Hiking, meditation, being outside, and spending time with horses all help me stay

grounded and help me align my body, mind, and emotions. Horses have ways of

showing me when I’m not present or if I’m coming at them with strange energy or

incongruence. They help me slow down and feel the different states I’m bringing to

them so I can discern and notice what it feels like to change states. To me, the

relationships and the feedback are invaluable in supporting my mental health."

Kelley Heider

Practicum Student

"I have been dealing with mental health issues since I was a kid, and going to therapy

has been an amazingly helpful resource for me as I navigate the world. My first

therapist was a wonderful man named Dr. Paul, whom I saw when I was 9 years old.

Additionally, I have always had a lot of animals in my life and can't imagine being

without them, so to combine therapy and animals has been a natural step in my

growth as a therapist in training. I am constantly in awe of the ability of animals to help

me regulate my nervous system and remain calm during trying times, and I want to

bring that gift to others as well."

Katie Dumm

Practicum Student

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which has been recognized since 1949 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness ( NAMI works to address challenges faced by the millions of Americans impacted by mental illness. Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity for us to consciously work to destigmatize mental illness, increase education and awareness of mental health care, improve mental health services for those in need, and advocate for policies that prioritize the mental health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities nationwide. The Medicine Horse mission contributes to meeting the needs of those in our community by providing free and low-cost mental health services, including individual, couples, and family psychotherapy and peer support groups for various populations.

Blog Post by Nicole Murray - Therapy Intern at Medicine Horse


bottom of page