Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at an “End the Stigma” event organized by the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club, a triathlon club that raises money each year for a cause of their choosing. This year their cause is ending the stigma against mental health and addictions. I was so impressed with this group, for choosing this cause, setting up the event and for sharing their stories. I’m not sure if they knew it, but their event occurred during Mental Health Month, in May. What makes this so significant is that the goal of the club is the same as the goal of Mental Health Month: to raise awareness about mental health issues and the importance of mental wellness. Part of reaching this goal includes encouraging people to share about their struggles as this makes it easier for others to seek the help that they need.
The theme of Mental Health Month this year is the mind-body connection and the importance of taking care of your body to help improve your mental health. That fits well with the triathlon club, as they are raising awareness AND doing things to improve their mental health by taking care of their physical health.
The mind-body connection is important to consider as we explore ways to recover. What we eat, how we sleep, and whether we exercise or not can have an impact on our stress levels and our overall mental wellbeing. It is common to think about how these behaviors affect our physical health. We all know that eating too much sugar or not getting enough sleep puts us at risk for medical problems but we often don’t think about how these daily activities can affect our mood. Mental Health America, the organization that leads the observance of Mental Health Month, is also focusing on the importance of stress management, recovery from addictions, and support networks to help with recovery from mental health issues.
What things will you do in honor of Mental Health Month? Will you change what you eat or begin exercising? Will you reach out to a friend and share your recovery story? Whatever you choose to do can positively affect you and those around you. You don’t have to start training for a triathlon. Small changes can make a big difference. Don’t wait until next month. Start now. And if you need help figuring out what to do, call Serenity Solutions at 267-317-8817 for some ideas.