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Celebrate mental health with tools for living well

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By The Staff

By LAURA JOHNSON Ph.D

Chief, Behavioral Health Clinic

Ireland Army Community Hospital

May is a most wonderful month. The sun shines more and the weather warms, the birds are back, and on the first Saturday in May the most amazing horses in the world are saddled up for the running of the Kentucky Derby. May is the time when we shake off the winter doldrums, venture outside, and reconnect with nature and our neighbors, recapturing that joy in life, which is an essential component to good mental well being.

Magnificent things occur almost every day in May, which makes it the perfect time to celebrate Mental Health Month.

May was designated Mental Health Month in 1949, with Congress recognizing the vastly important role that mental well-being plays in our overall health and wellness. Our mental wellness plays a key role in our physical health, the harmony of our family and social lives, and how well we perform at work.

Essentially, a person’s mental and emotional well being can affect every single area of his or her life. As a result, Congress decided that each May we would turn our focus toward current behavioral health issues and topics in an effort to raise awareness, decrease stigma, and find ways to promote and strengthen our well being.

This year, to celebrate over 61 years of promoting our wellness, Mental Health America published this year’s theme: “Live your Life Well.”

Living our lives well can be more easily said than done; especially in challenging and stressful times. Fortunately, Mental Health America published, along with this year’s theme, a simple guide for helping achieve mental wellness. In “The 10 Tools for Living Life Well,” the following steps are provided to help you achieve emotional well being:

Connect with others, stay positive, get physically active, help others, get enough sleep, create joy and satisfaction, eat well, take care of your spirit, deal better with hard times, and get professional help if you need it.

Often, the most difficult of these ways to mental wellness is to “get professional help if you need it.” We may wonder what others will think, or that we may feel embarrassed and vulnerable. We may think it is easier to just deal with the pain. But we don’t have to—there are professionals at the Department of Behavioral Health who want to help.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, hopeless, or just want to find some solid coping skills don’t hesitate to contact our experts at the Department of Behavioral Health. We can be reached at 626-6188, 6187, or 6153. You may also reach us at the Emergency Room in Ireland Army Community Hospital. We are here to help.

At the Department of Behavioral Health, we celebrate Mental Health Month 365 days a year, and our mission is to help enable the mental wellness of every Soldier, Family member, unit, and each Fort Knox Community member. We all deserve to live our lives well.