This May, join us in celebrating National Mental Health Month by raising awareness about mental health issues and helping everyone understand the benefits of treating mental health conditions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 out of 4 adults in America suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. This means that mental health issues affect us all, either directly and indirectly. This month, commit to learning more about our country’s mental health challenges and to taking steps in your own life to work towards wellness.
The focus of this year’s campaign is wellness. Many times, when confronted with mental health conditions, our focus narrows to getting healthy. While this is an important part of the process, the goal for every American is not only to achieve a healthy mental state, but to maintain that mental health as well. By shifting the focus from getting better to staying better, the campaign aims to help everyone, even those without mental health issues, understand how important an attitude of wellness is to maintaining both your physical and mental health.
Wellness, like health, can mean different things to different people. At the core, it is the absence of disease but it is also much more than simply not being sick. Wellness is about our overall well-being. It involves more than just our mental health. It is about achieving a state of health physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. It is the tools and techniques we develop that help us overcome adversity, manage change, and recover from illnesses of all kinds. Wellness is about getting healthy and staying that way.
The numbers tell a story that most of us don’t like to hear. No matter how happy we are, how successful we feel, how much money we make, or how healthy we feel today, we are all at risk of developing a mental health disorder. While this may be something we think happens to other people, the truth is that is happens to all of us and the best way to safeguard ourselves is to pay attention to our overall well-being. When we are taking care of ourselves and making sure our most important needs are being met, we are working towards wellness.
The national campaign stresses the following four steps as the key to following your own Pathway to Wellness:
- Eat a balanced diet filled with healthy food and plenty of water.
- Exercise regularly to help combat stress and increase resilience.
- Remember to relax, to laugh, and to let go.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
In addition to these four steps on the Pathway to Wellness, commit to making your mental health as important as your physical health. Make regular mental health checkups part of your overall health management plan and make it a habit to monitor your own mental and emotional well-being.
Take time this month to lend your voice to the awareness campaign and encourage everyone in your life to seek their own Pathway to Wellness.