2018-05-23 / Front Page

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May has arrived on the calendar and since May is Mental Health Month, it is time to think about mental health. Of course mental health is way too important for us to ignore for 11 months every year; but having a special time for reflection can help us take stock of our lives and make plans for positive growth and change. That is why Mental Health America is using May as a special time to raise awareness about the connections between physical and mental health with the theme of #4Mind4Body.

As we know, mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being. Just as people face physical health challenges they may, at times, face mental health challenges as well, but just like physical health issues, mental health issues are treatable.

With the #4Mind4Body theme, Mental Health America is working to share information and increase understanding about how eating healthy foods, managing stress, exercising and getting enough sleep can help make people be healthier and feel better all around.

A healthy lifestyle has been shown not only to reduce your risk of (or improve recovery from) physical illnesses but may also help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

For example, research shows that getting enough exercise helps people control weight and live longer but also reduces the risk of depression, panic disorder and phobias. And it does not take that much exercise - 10 minutes of moderate exercise 15 times per week (a total of 150 minutes or 2 1/2 hours per week) can elevate levels of chemicals in our brains that reduce depression and anxiety, improve sleep and concentration and may reduce appetite. Not a bad return for 20-30 minutes or time per day!

Another vital step in the #4Mind4Body model, is stress management. Everyone has some stress and it is not going away—so we have to manage it.

Too much stress (or stress that lasts too long) can weaken immune systems, disrupt sleep and increase risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer as well as depression and anxiety. Tools to manage stress include setting realistic goals for yourself, being flexible, having positive and enjoyable hobbies and again exercise.

Healthy eating is another key technique for positive mental and physical health. We all know some of the negative health impacts of poor nutrition -excessive weight, risk of diabetes, heart disease -the list is long—in fact 20 percent of all deaths world wide can be linked to unhealthy eating habits! However, did you know that unhealthy diets (such as excessive consumption of overly processed, fried and sugary foods has been linked to up to a 60 percent increased risk of depression?

So make May a month of reflection and challenge, join Mental Health America to take stock of all the positive healthy things you do for your mind and your body while being open to identify areas for positive change to improve Fitness #4Mind4Body.

Visit the Mental America website (mentalhealthamerica.net) and link to the #4Mind4Body tab where you will find resources to help you assess your current mind and body healthy coping skills as well as tools to improve your skill sets to be fit and healthy for your future.

If you have any questions or would like local information, call 765-653-3310 or join the local Facebook group for Mental Health America of Putnam County at fb.me/mhaopcindiana.

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