Clinically Reviewed by Sarah Hogan, MA LPC
Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 13 years of experience in the behavioral health field as well as a certified provider of Cognitive Processing Therapy for Trauma. She has extensive experience in counseling and case management with local mental health authorities, emergency homeless shelters, leading high acuity response teams, and serving first responders/veterans.
Your mental health plays such an important role in your life and the lives of your loved ones – protecting and enhancing mental wellbeing is essential to living a healthy life.
When you feel good on the inside, it shows on the outside!
Mental Health Awareness in October
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from August 2020 through February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of anxiety or a depressive disorder (commonly known as depression) increased from 36.4% to 41.5%, and the percentage of those who reported an unmet mental health care need increased from 9.2% to 11.7%.
During the month of October, we recognize several awareness events. Mental Illness Awareness Week is recognized in the first week of the month. World Mental Health Day is October 10th, and National Depression Screening Day takes place the second Thursday of October.
Days and weeks of recognition are helpful to gain awareness, but as we see from the data, it’s not enough. What else can we do to help improve our mental health and help our loved ones do the same?
Tips For Boosting Your Mental Wellbeing
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recommends these five things you can do to boost your mental wellbeing.
1. Discover Your Bliss
It can be as simple as listening to your favorite music or playing an instrument, reading a book, or listening to an engrossing podcast. It’s important to have an activity you know will make you feel good even on difficult days.
2. Try Something New
This can be a bit intimidating. But oftentimes, the best experiences are found when we embrace the unknown. What’s more, new experiences trigger our brains to release dopamine – which is your internal “reward chemical.” Bonus!
3. Embrace The Positive
When you surround yourself with people who set goals for themselves and have a positive outlook, you’re sure to feel their positivity as well. The energy of those around us has an impact on how we feel.
Pro-tip: Be sure to celebrate your successes, big and small!
4. Practice Stress Management Techniques
Meditation and exercise are effective ways to manage stress. Experts at Mayo Clinic state that, “meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.”
Exercise allows you to shift your focus from your mind to your body. It also relieves some physical tension caused by stress.
5. Reach Out to a Professional
A therapist will offer unbiased advice and put you on a track for good mental health. If you’re living with a mental health issue or know someone who is, you are not alone. Even in the best of times, anxiety, depression, and stress can take their toll on our mental wellbeing.
It’s important to remember that mental health issues are treatable disorders – NOT character flaws.
The Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Many people who struggle with mental health use drugs and alcohol in order to cope. This is a very dangerous habit. If you have a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, you have what clinicians call a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or other drugs and would like to take the first step in improving your mental wellbeing, Plum Creek Recovery Ranch is here to help. Click here to contact one of our caring Admissions Counselors for a free and anonymous assessment.