Mind Over Matter: If Only It Were That Simple... The Health of Your Mind Matters!
September kicks off the time of the year RNO spotlights Mental Health. This can be a difficult time of year for some, and for some others in general, every day is a struggle due to diagnoses and illnesses that can't be identified by sight. There are many reasons someone may choose to neglect their mental health- including fear, shame, denial, not culturally acceptable, does not know they have a problem. These are just some of the causes for self-imposed lack of mental healthcare. Large roles are also played by societal norms (society sees mental illness as something to be ashamed of and hidden) and lack of access to healthcare- many of those with mental health issues have a lack of access to care, especially for those with the most severe cases of mental illness.
Mental health- What is it? Why is it so important? Mental health is your psychological, emotional and social well-being. If there are problems with any of these areas, it may effect the way you think, feel or act. This becomes a problem when changes in the way you think, feel, or act affect your everyday functioning or the functioning of your family. For instance, if you are clinically depressed (you may or may not know it), the chances of you not wanting to/feeling like/having the energy to do everyday things (bathing, dressing, eating, going to the grocery store, etc.) can be very high. When this happens, this means that your life is happening with out you, you are at risk for poor health, and the loss of the ability to care for yourself and remain independent. Imagine that you have children and this is the case. What does this mean? It means your children are highly likely to try to help you, by doing those things that you may have missed, and attending to your personal needs. These behaviors then have an impact on the adult life of the child. This is what is meant by changing your level of functioning- the things you do day in and day out to maintain your responsibilities and your health. Mental health matters not just to the individual who may be struggling, it impacts the loved ones in their lives, so healing and help for everyone involved is essential.
Myths and Facts- There are LOTS of myths currently circulating regarding mental health and wellness. Lets take a look at some of the most common misconceptions regarding this topic. If you would like more information, www.mentalhealth.gov is an excellent resource to use.
Myth #1: Not many people have mental health problems. According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services, in 2014, one in five adults (20% of the U.S. population) has been affected by a mental health issue.
Myth #2: Mental Health problems are forever. This is not always the case! There are many causes for mental health issues, including life situations or trauma. Losing a job, house, loved one or anything that is important to you can definitely cause a blip in our mental health, however, this does not necessarily last. What is important in dealing with any type of mental health issue is working through and coping with the event in a healthy way. For those that DO have to treat a life-long illness can achieve their highest level of wellness with the right support.
Myth #3: Mental Illness is a sign of weakness or poor character. As stated before, the causes for mental illness are varied. One may be at risk for or have mental illness due to biological reasons like brain chemistry or injury; or a physical illness. Trauma or life event/experience or a family history of mental illness- all are possible causes. In any case, there are chemical factors at play as well as a potential lack of coping skills that should be addressed and treated with the urgency they deserve.
For more information on facts about mental health, visit the CDC by clicking here.
So what's the bottom line? The bottom line is this- your mental health has a profound impact on your physical health. Whaaaaaa?! Yes. Yes it does. Having any type of mental health issue
can definitely be stressful, but as we've stated before-
stress WILL kill you. Just because we can't see it, does not make it less important nor it make it something to be ashamed of. Stress impacts every body process, so please understand how important it is that we address our mental health issues, via treatment and/or education- your life could depend on it. Mental illness recognition and treatment needs a culture change- it's time we give folks the support and resources they need to take the best care of themselves- mentally and physically. They go hand in hand, when one is broken, the next is sure to follow. Please follow us from September through December to learn more about mental health, types of disorders and how you can help- yourself or a loved one. Visit www.familydoctor.org for more information about how your mental health can affect your physical health.
How RNovations can help: RNovations Health is here to help. We provide community health seminars about managing conditions such as diabetes. There we assist people with learning the basics of their disease, medications, and treatments as well as how to make better choices one step at a time. We can help you with medication and nutrition review and counseling, that you can use to manage your health not only during the holidays, but every day thereafter. We also assist with health system navigation so that if you do need services, you are using the most effective mix of services. Give us a call at 804.386.4663 if you want to see how we can be of assistance to you or your group/community. You can also send us an email via the contact us page. We're here for you!