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May is Mental Health Month
"May is Mental Health Month" was started 70 years ago by the national organization, Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.
A healthy lifestyle can help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also help people recover from these conditions. For those dealing with a chronic health condition and the people who care for them, it can be especially important to focus on mental health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five caregivers (or 19.5%) showed moderate to severe depression. Depression in the general population is just under 7% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are many things you can do that may help. Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk with a friend, meditating, or playing with a pet can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy.
The Sussex County Department of Health and Human Services wants everyone to know that mental health conditions are real and recovery and living well with a mental health condition is possible. Finding the balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, and physical and mental health can help you on this path.
The Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders is supporting the Campaign to Change Direction. This is an international campaign to change the culture of mental health and create a common language to talk about it so that those in need receive the care and support they deserve. The Campaign encourages everyone to incorporate mental health into overall health, pledge to know and share the five signs of emotional suffering and support others to reach out for help when needed. Visit the Sussex County Change Direction page for more information and resources and the Change Direction website at https://www.changedirection.org/ .
Brain Awareness Week, the week of March 11 - 17, 2019, is a week to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. From successful aging to combating stress, anxiety and serious mental illnesses, brain research surrounding various topics is being conducted on an ongoing basis. The Brain and Behavior Foundation has fascinating half-hour videos on topics including concussion, memory, mental health conditions, substance use disorders, stress and major disorders and the developments being made in these areas. These can be found FREE at www.bbrfoundation.org/healthy-minds-tv . Individuals can also visit a local branch of the Sussex County Library system to locate additional educational materials and resources on brain related topics.
Below are some tips for successful aging and your brain:
- Stay physically active.
- Reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol with a good diet, healthy lifestyle and medication when necessary.
- Talk to your doctor about diseases and drugs that may impair brain function either by themselves or when they interact with other medications you may be taking.
- Keep your brain lively with social and intellectual activity and as well as with adequate sleep.
The Campaign to Change Direction is a national model to reduce stigma and change the culture of mental health so that all of those in need receive the care and support they deserve. The Campaign encourages everyone to incorporate mental health into overall health, pledge to know and share the five signs of emotional suffering and support others to reach out for help when needed. To access local mental health resources and learn how Sussex County is promoting its Campaign to Change Direction initiative visit https://www.sussex.nj.us/changedirection.