How Are You Really?! – May 2022 Mental Health Series Program Summary

Mental Health Series hero

~Liz Hiles

Cancer is hard.

Mental health is hard.

Dealing with cancer and your mental health?

We could all use a little help there. 

In May 2022, the Gryt Health Community Team put together an intense month of programming to help our community deal with a variety of mental health topics and foster mental wellness. Throughout the month, we dove into conversations about mental health during and after cancer. We heard from a variety of mental health professionals during four free, informational, and interactive Zoom meetings where attendees were welcomed as they were to join in the conversation or just listen and learn about new coping skills. 

On May 4th, we presented Reclaiming Your Body & Confidence with Kristin McMaster, a social worker, and the Mental Health Resource Specialist at First Descents. This program walked us through acknowledging our bodies and our physical abilities while we move through cancer and beyond. We also talked about how to gently push our bodies and test our own limits after the traumatic physical experience of cancer to rebuild our physical strength and confidence while improving the relationship we have with our bodies. 

You can read this full program summary here on our Community Hub or view the entire recorded program on YouTube.

For May 12th’s program, we welcomed Dana Kirkpatrick, Certified Sex Therapist, Owner & Director of Calm Pittsburgh for the program Let’s Talk About Sex & Cancer. Besides invoking memories of Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s classic 1990 hit, Let’s Talk About Sex, this program created a safe, comfortable space for what often is a very uncomfortable conversation about sex and intimacy during and after a cancer diagnosis. We talked about everything from physical trauma and anatomy changes to changes in physical sensual responses and the use of sexual aids to get you to the point of release. Dana guided us through every step in a very frank and open way as she was both clinical and personal and shared some of the things she has experienced as a breast cancer survivor herself. 

You can read this full program summary here on our Community Hub or view the entire recorded program on YouTube.

On May 19th, Kelly Hendershot, social worker and Senior Director of Partner Support from Cancer Support Community joined us for Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Why Can’t I Stay Positive? Being positive all of the time is just not healthy or natural! Kelly walked us through how to recognize, acknowledge and move through the rollercoaster of emotions that you experience when facing cancer, including depression, anxiety, grief, and resilience. The biggest difference between toxic positivity and positivity is that you can be realistic and authentic while practicing gratitude and self-compassion when you are positive. When you are engaging in toxic positivity, you’re just forcing yourself to be positive regardless of whatever else is going on and without allowing yourself to feel those down moments. The conversation was inspiring.  

You can read this full program summary here on our Community Hub or view the entire recorded program on YouTube.

For May 24th’s program, Choosing to Thrive While Dying, Jena Skelton, a licensed professional counselor, led us through challenging conversations about grief, death, and dying. Death is inevitable, but choosing how you live while you’re dying is completely up to you. Jena walked us through some challenging conversations about how to deal with the end of life events while practicing self-care and keeping your dignity intact. 

You can read this full program summary here on our Community Hub or view the entire recorded program on YouTube

Don’t forget that pre-registration for our annual, cornerstone event, the Global Virtual Cancer Conference(GVCC) is open! This year’s event is going to be bigger and better than ever before! You won’t want to miss it!

We want to hear from you this GVCC. Our Call for Speakers deadline has been extended to June 26th, so there’s still time to submit your proposal to present. Click here for details.

To learn more about upcoming programs, visit our Calendar of Events.

Our Community Team works hard year-round to bring useful programming to the Gryt Health community. Lauren and Chris would love to hear from you if you have topics you’d like to see for any Gryt Health Programs. Place your comments below or send them to

REMEMBER: You are not alone. Gryt Health is here for you. Reach out to us if you need support or resources and we can connect you to the type of help you need. We also have our community platform available to you 24-7-365, where you can chat with people from around the world and engage with Vivibot, our mental health chatbot designed to help you develop the skills you need to get beyond cancer.

If you are experiencing a difficult moment and need immediate support, please reach out to:

CancerCare’s Hopeline: (800) 813-HOPE (4673)

  • Monday – Thursday: 10 am – 6 pm ET
  • Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET

Cancer Support Community’s Helpline: 888-793-9355

  • Monday – Friday: 9 am – 9 pm ET
  • Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 5pm ET

NAMI’s HelpLine:  800-950-NAMI (6264)

  • Monday – Friday: 10 am – 8 pm ET

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor.

  • 24 hours/7 days a week/365 days a year
  • Available on Facebook Messenger

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