May is Mental Health Awareness Month | PostIndependent.com

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Susan Ross
Grand River Health

With all the recent media about mental health issues in our county and state, the timing of May as Mental Health Awareness Month couldn’t be better. This year’s theme from Mental Health America is “B4Stage4.” Meaning, just as you wouldn’t wait years to treat diabetes, cancer or heart disease, you shouldn’t wait until you, or a loved one, gets to a stage 4 mental health crisis before getting help. Research shows that people ignore mental health symptoms on an average of 10 years before getting help. These are 10 years in which we could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. During these years, most people have supports that allow them to succeed — home, family, friends, school and work. The longer people wait to get help, the more likely they will have lost some of their supports.

This Mental Health Month, Grand River Mental Health providers are encouraging everyone to learn the signs, ask for help if needed and focus on prevention/mental health self care. At stage 1, oftentimes people experience mild symptoms or a sense that something is just not right. These symptoms might not be serious, just like a cough that comes and goes. But sometimes they are a sign of something more severe and shouldn’t be ignored. At stage 2, symptoms increase and begin to interfere with life activities and roles. Some symptoms to be aware of are: decrease in pleasurable activities, feeling low or anxious, or feeling like you can’t shut your mind off. Mental Health America has online screening tools for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder at mhascreening.org. Your mental health therapists at Grand River Health also have the screening tools and would be happy to meet with you for an individualized assessment.

Grand River mental health providers encourage everyone to focus on wellness; mental and physical. The key components of self-care are as follows;

• Manage stress. Be kind to yourself and take time for yourself every day.

• Use relaxation techniques such as breath work and mindfulness practices

• Stay connected to others. Develop and engage in healthy relationships

• Exercise. Physical activity reduces health risks and lessens symptoms associated with mental health issues

• Eat a healthy diet. Nutrition is linked to emotional, physical and cognitive health.

• Get enough sleep. Establish a regular bedtime routine.

• Give back to others in your community and in your life.

Grand River Health has four licensed clinical mental health professionals in Rifle and Battlement Mesa/Parachute clinics that provide mental health assessments and treatment in Grand River’s Integrated Care Program working in coordination with your primary care providers. Appointments can be made by calling 625-1100 in Rifle and 285-7046 in Battlement Mesa/Parachute.


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