NEWARK—Mental Health Month was created more than 50 years ago to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for all. The Behavioral Health Network at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center hopes to build community awareness about getting the support to manage challenging emotional times.
“The theme of Mental Health Month this year is social connectedness, which is an essential component of maintaining mental health and wellness,” says Tess Medina, RN, C, BSN, MAS, Administrative Director of the Behavioral Health Department at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “There are many ways of creating connections that support mental health, which include family and friends, members of the community, and professional assistance.”
Medina reports that mental health is like high blood pressure in that it is a medical condition that can be treated. Medications and exercise often improve mental health. “Emotional pain is treatable,” she says, “in the same way that treatment is provided for any pain.”
Managing Life’s Pressures
Mental health is an essential part of each person’s overall health and wellness. At times, everyone faces challenges that put mental health at risk and cause stress.
In small doses, stress gives a burst of energy, but too much stress or stress that lasts for a long time can take its toll on the body. Stress can make you feel run down, sad, nervous, or irritable. It can cause headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach, nausea, dizziness or feelings of despair. In the long-term, stress can raise your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, depression and weaken immunity.
Healthy Ideas to Manage Life’s Pressures
Finding healthy ways to manage life’s challenges can lower the risk of mental health and other health problems and help you feel better overall.
The Behavioral Health Network at Newark Beth Israel offers these suggestions for better mental health:
• Connect with others. You don’t have to cope with stress on your own. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, support group or counselor can make you feel better. Spending time with positive, loving people can ease stress and improve your mood.
• Relax your mind. You can relax by listening to soothing music, reading a book or doing a quiet activity. Consider deep breathing, meditation or massage therapy.
• Exercise. Exercising relieves your tense muscles, improves your mood, increases your energy and strength, and eases symptoms of anxiety and depression.
• Get Enough Rest. Getting enough sleep helps you recover from the stresses of the day. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
• Help Others. Helping others builds social networks, improves self-esteem and can give you a sense of purpose and achievement.
• Know your limits. If you’re overwhelmed at home or work or with friends, learn how to say “no.” It may feel uncomfortable at first, so practice saying “no” with the people you trust most.
• Watch your negative self-talk. Try not to put yourself down. For example, if you don’t make it to the gym this week, don’t call yourself lazy. Instead think about the specific factor that may have kept you from going to the gym. “I wasn’t able to work out because I had to work late, but next week, I’ll make it a priority.”
• Write down three good things that happen to you each day for a week. Also write down why each good thing happened. Thinking about the good things in your life and expressing gratitude may actually help you feel happier.
Mental Health Matters in Your Life
If you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, do not let the situation go unchecked. NBIMC behavioral health services include multiple levels of care, including highly specialized medical care for clients who require it. All programs are led by a multidisciplinary staff of experienced professionals with advanced training and certification in all facets of behavioral health.
You can reach the Behavioral Health Department at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center by calling 1-973-926-7416.
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