As you know Rotary International President Gordon McInally has inspired us to think about Creating Hope in the World, and we can do so by ensuring we are practicing caring for ourselves and others this Rotary year.  Each month we will take a moment to share a mental health moment to inspire you on how you can practice caring for yourself and others.  In addition, District 5150 has taken a pledge to focus on mental health and has a group of committed Rotarians working towards making a difference in the arena of mental health here in our own district.  If you are interested in being a part of the discussion and solution our next district wide meeting will be March 4, 2024 Link here. If you need additional information, please contact Jenny Bates.
We hope you will also consider our newly created Rotary Men’s Support Group.  The focus of the discussion is helping men improve their communication with family and friends. The next meeting will be on February 7, 6:00pm. There is no charge to attend the group and it is open to non-Rotary members. The group is facilitated by Dr. Mikol Davis, a clinical psychologist.  For more information or to RSVP contact Jeff Slavitz at (415) 310-2410 or Henry Choi at (415) 730-5539.

Creating Hope in the World: Recognizing Signs of Struggling Mental Health

When Rotary President Gordon McInally called upon us to "Create Hope in the World," Rotarians enthusiastically embarked on various initiatives to make a positive impact. Addressing mental health within the scope of Rotary's mission is crucial, as fostering a supportive and caring community involves recognizing the signs of mental health struggles. In a world where appearances can be deceiving, understanding these signs becomes paramount. By being observant and compassionate, we can extend our Rotary spirit to offer support and, in some cases, even save a life.

Identifying Signs of Struggling Mental Health:

Changes in Behavior:

Vigilance is key when it comes to spotting sudden or noticeable changes in behavior. Whether it's withdrawing from social activities, increased irritability, or a significant shift in personality, these changes can be indicative of individuals grappling with mental health issues affecting their daily routines and social interactions.

Emotional Fluctuations:

Extreme or unusual mood swings may be a red flag for mental health struggles. Recognizing persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety is crucial. Similarly, sudden bursts of anger or heightened emotional reactions signal an individual's distress and should not be overlooked.

Physical Symptoms:

Mental health challenges often manifest physically. Pay close attention to changes in sleep patterns, appetite, or energy levels. Unexplained aches and pains, headaches, or other physical discomforts may be linked to emotional distress, providing valuable clues to someone's mental well-being.

Cognitive Changes:

A decline in concentration, memory, or decision-making abilities can be indicative of mental health issues. Individuals struggling may find it challenging to focus on tasks, make simple decisions, or recall information, impacting their daily functioning.

Social Isolation:

People facing mental health challenges frequently withdraw from social interactions. If someone who was once outgoing becomes increasingly isolated, it may be a sign that they are struggling. A lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed or a reluctance to engage with others warrants attention and intervention.

Substance Abuse:

Escaping emotional pain through substance use is a common coping mechanism. Increased alcohol or drug consumption may serve as a red flag, indicating an attempt to self-medicate or numb emotional pain.


As Rotarians committed to "Creating Hope in the World," recognizing signs of struggling mental health is an essential part of our mission. Encouraging open communication, expressing concern, and guiding individuals towards professional help can make a significant impact on their mental well-being. By staying vigilant and fostering a supportive environment, we contribute to creating a community that values mental health and seeks to uplift those who are struggling. Together, as Rotarians, we play a vital role in creating hope and support for those facing mental health challenges.
 About the author:  Jenny Bates is a proud member of the Rotary Club of Ignacio.  She is wife the current District Governor Laine Hendricks and is also chair of the District 5150’s newly formed  Rotarian Action Group for Mental Health.  View our other Mental Health Matters blog posts.