Mental health, what does it mean to you?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. When we think of mental health, we automatically think of mental illness, but those are two fundamentally different things. Mental illness refers to our health condition involving changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior. The best way to know if you or a loved one is struggling with a mental illness is to determine if this change affects their ability to function in daily life for more than two weeks. Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences cognition, perception, and behavior. It also determines how an individual handles stress, interpersonal relationships, and decision-making.
Many individuals living with mental illness are not open about it because of the associated stigma. However, we must be more open to discussing it to change the perception. One in five people in the United States lives with a diagnosed mental illness. Mental illness affects the individual, family, and loved ones supporting this individual.
Here are some suggested self-care activities:
- Read a book or magazine
- Exercise – Walk, Run, Yoga, Dance, Stretch, Swim
- Meditate or Pray
- Color, Draw, or Paint
- Create a Vision Board
- Create a Gratitude Journal
- Take a bath
- Practice Deep Breathing
Many of these self-care activities can be done while you are at work or driving. The goal is to relieve stress in any environment. If you actively practice these activities and still feel you need more, please understand IT IS OK NOT TO BE OK! Seek assistance from a professional if you think you or a loved one is struggling with a mental illness. You are not alone. Contact NAMI Mississippi at 601 899 9058 for peer and family support. In case of a mental health emergency, text NAMI to 741741 or call 1-877-210-8513. www.namims.org
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