Mental Health Awareness

May marks Mental Health Awareness month where communities, organizations and other affiliates partner in raising attentiveness to mental health. Usually when the word health is used, most think of only the physical aspects this encompasses. Mental health is just as important as maintaining physical health because it affects all facets of our daily routine. This stresses the importance of seeing the whole person so that we are addressing minds and bodies rather than trying to pinpoint one health to focus on. According to a Harris Poll 89% of people believe that mental health is just as important as physical health. However, the issue lies where many people do not know how to or do not converse about mental health that contributes to stigmas forming. According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, 1 out of 5 people are affected by mental health and when combined with stigma it influences these individuals from seeking help. Therefore, deterrence of treatment usually occurs when the environment may contain shame, fear and silence. This perception of mental illness has the ability to change and you can help by:

  • Identifying and reducing any stigmas you might have
  • Educating yourself and others in the community
  • Finding appropriate ways to help advocate for these individuals 
  • Providing support by volunteering and knowing resources
  • Sharing your experiences
  • Taking care of yourself

Although some might seem small, little changes over time can create huge gains for yours and others overall health and wellbeing. Stigma can be reversed by compassion, empathy and understanding. So remember, sometimes the uncomfortable or unknown topics are what need to be talked about in order to address them. Let’s start learning and talking.

 

Self Care

With February upon us and Valentine’s Day on the way what better time to talk about self-care?

This month many will take time to show and share their love for others but how often do we practice showing love and care for ourselves?  Making a point to show others that they are important is a beautiful thing; however, just as beautiful is reserving time to nurture ourselves. This might be a foreign concept or an afterthought with the business and demands that life brings. The following are questions that I have been asked as a counselor and that I admittedly have asked myself:  What is self-care?  Why does it matter? What does it mean to love and nurture one’s self? How does one incorporate self-care into their already busy lives? What are the benefits of self-care? Below I have compiled some answers to these questions.

Here are some key points to know about self-care:

•         It is intentional and often requires planning

•         It helps to improve mental, physical, and psychological well being

•         It helps reduce mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety

•         It is often ignored

•         It should NOT feel like a chore

Now that we know some key points about self-care let’s move on to some examples of what self-care includes.

- Eating a healthy diet

- Spending time with people we enjoy

-Laughing

-Using relaxation techniques

-Following through with medical care

-Exercising

-Reading

-Listening to your favorite song

-Saying “No” to activities that bring you more frustration than joy

Keep in mind that these are purely examples. Self-care can look different from one individual to the next; however, the theme remains the same and encompasses a sense of balance and self-nurturing.  It is important to take time to promote personal well-being the same way that many of us often do for others. So go ahead and remind those around you how grateful you are to have them in your life but don’t forget to be intentional in your devotion to yourself. Remember that YOU are important and YOU are valuable.

If you or someone you care about could benefit from learning more about self-care and how to incorporate it into your lifestyle, give us a call. Our warm & compassionate counselors are available to support you and provide tools that may assist you on your journey. Call (941) 249-4354 or request an appointment online: www.swfcc.net

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths”- Etty Hillesum