13 May May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? According to Psychology Today, more than 43 million Americans suffer from some form of mental illness or condition. Mental health conditions can affect anyone, but those with chronic pain are particularly at-risk for conditions like depression and anxiety.
For those with chronic pain, the physical sensation of pain is not the only pain you may experience. It’s important to understand that you can have emotional and psychological responses to the physical sensation of pain, as well. So, it’s important to understand what mental health is and how it can affect your life.
What is mental health?
For some time, there has been a stigma around mental health. This is likely due to under education about what mental health really is. Your mental wellness encompasses things like your thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Because you can’t always see these things, many who have not experienced cannot relate to these “invisible” illnesses.
What are common disorders or conditions?
There are many mental health conditions or disorders that millions suffer from daily. If you have chronic pain, for example, there may be some conditions you are more likely to experience than others. Theses can include conditions such as:
- Addiction or substance abuse
- Sleep disorders
What can I do?
To manage your mental health, you should treat it just like you would any other illness. Here are a few steps to help:
- See a behavioral health specialist. A behavioral health specialist can help you manage your stress and mental health. Psychiatrists and other behavioral health specialists focus on the diagnosis, treatment and management of mental health conditions and disorders.
- Practice mindfulness. Recent studies have shown that practicing mindfulness and/or meditation can help manage stress, which can be a trigger for conditions like anxiety. Learning to manage your stress levels and lead a mindful and purposeful life can help you to manage your mental wellness.
- Properly fuel your body. Proper nutrition is essential to fueling your body. While you can’t manage your mental health with nutrition alone, eating well can help you feel better and more energized. A registered dietician or nutritionist can help you make a plan for healthy eating.
- Create an exercise routine. Engaging in a daily exercise routine is an essential part of your overall health, which helps you manage your mental wellness, too. Practices like yoga and stretching can be good ways to incorporate your mindfulness practice into your exercise. Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to engage in strenuous exercise daily to reap the benefits, just 150 (2.5 hours) per week is recommended by the American Heart Association.
Mental health is part of your overall wellness
Mental health awareness month is a great time to educate yourself and others on the importance of managing your mental wellness. Keeping your whole person healthy is essential–that means focusing not just on your body, but also your mind and emotions. With proper diet, exercise, stress management and help from a trained behavioral health specialist, you can learn to manage all aspects of your health and begin to feel like yourself again.
If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic pain, please call 615-941-8538 to schedule a pain assessment today. If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911.