May is Mental Health Awareness Month, coincidence?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the first idea for an editorial that popped up the day after an election was the fact that May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

We joke about being “Coocoo for Cocoa Puffs” and sell leftover merchandise during “Crazy Days” but mental illness is “funny like a heart attack” as the saying goes.

Following every mass shooting, the issue of mental health care is brought up as a counterpoint to gun control. Mental health care is an important, often neglected issue in the overall health care debate.

Factor in drug abuse, most often methamphetamines in our region but increasingly other dangerous drugs as well, and the rate of mental illness is probably higher than the one in five figure usually quoted as the rate of mental illness in Americans.

You can double that rate for anyone who’s been through war or a major disaster — think military veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan — or those who survived recent hurricanes in the south, fires in the west or even the rural fire that destroyed one home in McCook and threatened many others.

All types of people can be affected by mental illness — no matter age, race, gender, or socio-economic status.

The situation has improved somewhat, but mental health still carries a stigma that causes many to resist finding needed help.

The folks at the Kim Foundation offer some helpful advice to put things back on track

— Keep active. Nothing can clear your mind like working up a good sweat

— Enjoy a hobby. Take time to experience a creative activity with no pressure or expectations attached.

— Tend to your thoughts. Don’t let negative thoughts control your attitude.

— Keep in touch. Get out and enjoy face-to-face time with friends or make a phone call, not strictly through social media.

— Take a break. Make time off a regular part of your schedule.

— Talk it out. Find a nonjudgmental friend with an open ear.

— Eat well. Resist the urge to gravitate toward junk or “comfort” food.

— Know your strengths. Concentrate on things that are important to you and say “no” to everything else.

For more idea, visit http://bit.ly/2KvDzP5

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