Angel Ertle: What Mental Health Means to Me

May 6, 2021

This Mental Health Month, we hope you’ll join us in an exploration of what mental health means to you and your community. Be sure to check out our social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, for opportunities to share what mental health means to you, and hear from some of our staff on why this work is important to them personally, not just professionally.

Angel Ertle, LSW, a Waiver Case Manager for Dakota County, shares her thoughts on this topic. 

Learn more about Mental Health Month and GiveMN Spring Forward campaign.

We all have mental health but what does it mean to you?

Mental health to me is something that is different for every person. Mental health is putting our own mask on and doing what’s necessary to survive. Mental health can be extremely difficult and complex, but it can also be rewarding and strengthening. 

What enhances your mental well-being?

For me personally, I have to remind myself that it’s okay to not be okay 100% of the time and allow myself to not take on the guilt of not doing well. Knowing that I am not alone both in support and my experience of mental health also helps. Seeing a therapist regularly, journaling, meditation, and medication are all things that support my mental well-being. Having an employer like People Incorporated that understands what mental health and well-being means is also important. 

What does the concept “person-centered” care mean to you and to your work helping clients?

Naturally, when we provide care to individuals, we have unspoken authority as providers. Providing person-centered care means making all attempts to destruct the “invisible” authority and to provide care to individuals we as providers see as equals. It is putting ourselves in the individuals’ place and recognizing how we would want to be treated. Being person-centered is more than a hat we put on and take off when we’re working with individuals. Being truly person-centered is like the blood in our bodies: it is a part of every process we engage in; it brings breath and life to our interactions; and it removes the toxins of our uncompassionate practices, beliefs and thoughts. Being person-centered is not just a practice we use with the individuals we provide services to — it is a way of life in how we interact with the world.   

What does mental health look like when you’re at your best?

When I am at my best, I am capable of seeing beyond my own tiny bubble (my thoughts, my feelings, my experiences, my needs, etc.)  I feel less tension in my body, my breath comes easily, and my thoughts are not rapid fire.  When I am at my best, thoughts and emotions come easily.