There are many reasons to celebrate in the month of May- May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Graduations, and Mother’s Day. All of these are significant holidays, people talk about them, make plans, throw parties and celebrate. But there is one other important event in the month of May. Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May by reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings.
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Mental health issues used to be associated with the stigma of “being crazy.” However, that stigma is quickly slipping away, and now more than ever people are embracing the benefits of good mental health and mind-body wellness. Today, it’s common for people to see a therapist for a variety of reasons, from anxiety and depression, to dealing with relationship issues, healing from past traumas, grieving the loss of a loved one, or to simply stay on top of a healthy state of mind.
Of course, there are still those who think seeing a therapist shows weakness, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Asking for help is a sign of strength, if anything!
To dispel the common myths about therapeutic support, here are 5 facts that our therapists want you to know about mental health:
- Mental health is as important as physical health. The mind and body are connected—one will always affect the other. For instance, if you are in good physical shape but have anxieties which cause stress to your body, you could have a deficient immune system and get sick more easily than others. Or if you suffer from depression it may lead you to stay indoors more often and potentially get less exercise, resulting in physical ailments. Mental and physical health affect each other equally, and need to be treated as equally important entities
- Mental illnesses are not permanent, and are treatable.Don’t think that, just because you’ve lived with poor mental health for a while, you can’t resolve it. Effective treatment includes talk therapy, EMDR, CBT or DBT therapy, exercise, light therapy, medication and supplements, being in nature, and more. Effective treatment can help you feel like a whole new person!
- Mental illnesses are common.An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode at some point in their lives; this is 7.1% of all U.S. adults. Then there are anxiety disorders, which are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults, or 18.1% of people every year. It’s far more common that you might have expected.
- There are ways to help with mental illness besides prescription medication.Medications can treat some mental health disorders, but that isn’t the only option by a long shot. Therapists may recommend EMDR, CBT therapy, exercise, art therapy, acupuncture, or light therapy to treat certain disorders. There are many holistic treatments for mental health that will effectively supplement the counseling you’re receiving.
- All types of people suffer from mental health issues.In the past, the stigma was that only those who are violent or “crazy” suffer from a mental health disorder. We imagine, like the movies, where “crazy” people are locked up in asylums, unable to function in society. This is a wholly inaccurate portrayal of what it looks like to suffer from a mental health disorder—mental health disorders can manifest in anyone, and oftentimes look very normal from the outside looking in. Those who have mental health struggles are well-functioning folks doing everyday work, living an everyday life.
Taking care of your mental health, just as you would your physical health, can change your life for the better in ways we can’t imagine until we experience the shift. If you are looking for a therapist, San Francisco Stress and Anxiety Center is here for you. Our counselors help individuals just like you with a variety of mental health struggles, from finding gratitude and happiness to mourning the loss of a loved one, relationship woes to overcoming past abuse, neglect or simply managing anxiety and depression…and everything in between. Request a free phone consultation today and get started on your journey to happiness and fulfillment.
Here are 14 ways you can promote mental wellness this month:
- Maintain uninterrupted sleep for 8 hours each night.
- Avoid sugars, greasy foods, salts, processed foods, and saturated fats.
- Consume more whole grains, greens, unprocessed foods, lean meats, and unsaturated fats.
- Eat 2-3 well-balanced meals per day.
- Drink at least 3 liters of water per day.
- Engage in a physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Stay away from toxic thoughts, toxic people, and toxic conversations.
- Engage in positive thoughts and conversations.
- Practice mindfulness or meditation on a daily basis.
- Learn how to manage your stress.
- Stay present in your daily relationships.
- Pickup a new skill or hobby.
- Avoid “screen time” and engage in more “in person time”.
- Take time for yourself every day.
For the month of May, we challenge you to make 1 small positive change in your life that can benefit your mind and your body. You may be surprised by how much positive impact one small change can have on your life.
If you’re ready to work with a therapist, schedule a call with out Care-Coordinator to get started.