Seventy years ago, Mental Health America (MHA), the community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness, designated May as Mental Health Month. The idea then and now is to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.
Last year, Mental Health Month materials reached 30 million people. More than 16,000 health care organizations and other entities downloaded the MHA’s toolkit. The 2019 toolkit is stocked with educational information. This year’s 19 item kit includes fact sheets, outreach ideas, suggested social media posts, a press release, call to action buttons, and more.
This designation is an important reminder. People with chronic health conditions and their caregivers often need to focus on their mental health. Dealing with physical ailments or mental illnesses can sap energy, cause people to neglect proper rest and self-care, and increase negative factors like worry and stress. Here are some key tips from Mental Health America:
- Mental illnesses are common and treatable.
- 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.
- Humor, spirituality, recreation, animal companionship, and work-life balance are important for everyone but may be of special importance to people also living with chronic health conditions and those who care for them.
- Laughing, going for a walk, meditating, playing with a pet, or working from home once a week can go a long way toward making people both physically and mentally healthy.
- Finding humor in a situation can lift moods with laughter and help people better deal with and overcome difficult experiences.
- People often gain by building more connection with their spiritual side.
- Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes.
Find more information: May is Mental Health Month.