22 May 2014

Mental Health Awareness Month: Mind Your Health

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The term “mental health” covers a broad spectrum. From one end, we have the cases of extreme mental illness, such as schizophrenia. On the other end, we have the more everyday mental health maintenance, such as just needing a power nap and a good sandwich to feel back on track. And everything in between.

One of the major social and cultural leaps in the latter 20th century was in the realm of mental health awareness and openness. This upturn was an outgrowth of the burgeoning field of psychology, spreadheaded by Sigmund Freud and his contemporaries in the earlier part of the century. For mental health, what was once taboo is now discussed; what used to be a judged is now becoming understood; institutions previously called “insane asylums” are now termed “mental health facilities”. All told, people with mental illness are now much less shunned and faulted, and more so handled by psychological or psychiatric therapy.

Mental illness has come a long way not only in thanks to maturing cultural attitudes, but also due to medical advances. Medications are available for all kinds of depression, extreme anxiety, hallucinations, and other harmful states of mind, and those who remain on their meds often live completely normal lives.

As mentioned above, mental health does not just refer to mental illness. Mental health is a positive term which imbibes within it the message of the possible – that mental health is attainable, and it’s not just about preventing illness.

May is dedicated as Mental Health Awareness Month via the Mental Health America organization, and the theme for 2014 is “Mind Your Health.” The message is that we all can and should pay attention to our mental health, just like we do our physical health. All the more so, we see the interconnectedness of the two types of health foci:  Study after study shows that if you feel happy and have less stress, you have fewer health problems. At the same time, some people can do everything under the sun to try to improve their mental health via nutrition, exercise, and positive attitudes, but nonetheless they will still need psychiatric help.  The goal of Mental Health Awareness month is to provide a forum for focusing on educating ourselves to know signs of any need for help.

At Rockaway Care Center, we emphasize mental health, from our colorful gardens to our daily activities. We routinely witness how a sound mind provides fuel for rehabilitating and maintaining physical health all the more effectively.



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