Live Life Well in May’s Mental Health Month
National Social Work Month provided many of us the opportunity to celebrate the professional efforts of social workers across the nation. As an MSW@USC student, I was honored to take part in USC’s online events, as well as ground events here in Denver. Many of these events were infused with a positive, contagious energy that fostered networking opportunities, put forth thought-provoking discussions, and shed light on dedicated individuals who work diligently to uplift and redesign futures for the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Now with May being Mental Health Month, we have another opportunity to highlight the work of social workers and let communities know that meeting mental health needs is vital to leading healthy and productive lives. Mental Health Month began in 1949 and continues to focus attention on mental illness and burgeoning treatments, how to take care of your own mental health needs and remove the mental health stigma.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in four Americans suffers from a diagnosable, treatable mental disorder in a given year. As social workers, we have a responsibility to increase mental health awareness.
Live Well! It’s Essential for Your Potential
Mental health is an important part of our everyday lives, affecting everything from work to personal relationships. With increasing stressors and demands in our fast-paced and overworked society, individuals can frequently experience difficulties in just coping and adjusting each day.
Mental Health America has started the Live Your Life Well public education campaign to help people better cope with stress and enhance their well-being. One of this year’s themes, “Live Well! It’s Essential for Your Potential,” focuses on the importance of mental wellness and the steps everyone can take to protect their mental health in the face of difficult times and challenges. From relaxation techniques and journaling exercises to simple ways to get better sleep and improve eating habits, the Live Your Life Well website offers a wide range of resources to build resilience and information on seeking the help of a mental health professional.
The Underlying Message
The “Live Your Life Well” message is that things will get better. So go ahead and live your life to the fullest. In other words, ignore the things you can’t change and focus on the things you can. It is increasingly important that we promote our own health and well-being. Stress can take a huge toll on our health, mood, productivity and relationships, but there are evidence-based tools that can help counterbalance these effects. Good mental health is much more than just the absence of illness— it’s about being able to handle life’s challenges and even thrive.
How well will you live your life today?
Dawn Haliburton-Rudy is a first year MSW@USC student and a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame. She enjoys spending time with her family, involving herself in community political efforts, and helping the patients at her current practicum as a renal social worker. You can follow Dawn on Twitter (@DimiRudy) for thought provoking comments and, at times, intense discourses on various social topics.
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