September 21, 2019

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May 2019

Mental health awareness ribbon

Mental health is essential to everyone's overall health and well-being.

Mental Health Month was started 70 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.  So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally – it’s important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  For those dealing with a chronic health condition, it can be especially important to focus on mental health.  When dealing with dueling diagnoses, focusing on both physical and mental health concerns can be daunting – but critically important in achieving overall wellness.

Tips from Mental Health America for things that you can do to focus on a healthy lifestyle:

  • Spirituality & Religion – Regardless of whether you rely on meditation, yoga, or religion, caring for your soul is an important part of taking care of yourself that can improve physical and mental health along the way.
  • Humor – Finding humor in the circumstances of life can lift moods with laughter and help people to better deal with and overcome difficult experiences.  Some ways to incorporate humor:  list three funny things that happen to you each day; read a funny book; watch stand-up comedy; try laughter yoga;  or find a TV show or movie that tickles your funny bone.
  • Work-Life Balance – Work allows you to provide for yourself and your family while also serving a purpose in the community, but when it takes over your life, it can negatively affect your health.
  • Social Connections & Recreation – Finding other people to relate to and doing things that bring you enjoyment are great ways to improve your mood and overall mental health.

It is important to really look at your overall health, both physically and mentally, to achieve wellness.  Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk with a friend, meditating, or playing with a pet can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy. 

Mental illnesses are real, and recovery is always the goal.  Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy, but it can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes.  Finding the balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, physical health and mental health, can help you on the path in focusing on both the mind and the body.

If you are taking steps to care for your mind and body, but still feel like you are struggling with your mental health, visit www.mhascreening.org to check your symptoms.  It’s free, confidential and anonymous.  Once you have your results, MHA will give you information and help you find tools and resources to feel better.

 

Mental Health America (2019, May) [Press Release]. Retrieved from mentalhealthamerica.net/may