We promote mental health awareness every January as National Mental Wellness Month. What better way to start the new year than with a reminder to recharge your mental health? According to WebMD, good mental health can positively affect your physical health. Being in a good mental state can keep you healthy and help prevent significant health conditions. Mental health conditions can also make dealing with a chronic illness more difficult. The mortality rate from cancer and heart disease is higher among people with depression or other mental health conditions.
Recent research by NAMI has found that as much as 46% of people who die by suicide had a known mental health condition. As much as 55% of adults with a mental illness receive no treatment, and 60% of youth with major depression also do not receive treatment. This is why it is crucial to maintain positive mental health and treat any poor mental health conditions. Taking care of our mental health can help us control or combat some of the physical health problems directly linked to mental health conditions. Some of the most common mental health conditions are PTSD, Depression, Panic Disorder, and Eating Disorders. People who suffer from these conditions are at a higher risk of suicide than those who do not.
The CDC describes mental health as our “emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also determines how we manage stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.” The Global Wellness Institute defines mental wellness as “an internal resource that helps us think, feel, connect, and function.” The Institute goes on to say that doing things that make you happy and feel good will increase your mental wellness, thus increasing your mental health. Some activities that may improve your mental wellness include physical activities, artistic activities, volunteering, enjoying time with friends and family, eating good food, and completing personal goals. Also, getting enough sleep, developing a positive attitude, and laughing can improve your mental wellness.
The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is a resource that provides information on what to look out for if you have a friend or loved one struggling with their mental health. JFI believes that awareness and education are the first steps to the prevention of suicide. On the website, you can find valuable information on mental illness and how it can be associated with suicidal ideation. Please visit www.jasonfoundation.com and get involved in helping someone who is struggling.
By Scott Knight
Senior Division Director and Education Specialist at The Jason Foundation