The Importance of Mental Wellness Month

January is Mental Wellness Month, which highlights the importance of integrating mental, emotional, and physical health to improve overall health and wellness. Mental wellness plays an important factor when making difficult choices, dealing with stress, and relating to other people in the world.

“Mental wellness involves the ability to cope effectively with the difficulties of life, having an awareness of your own abilities and opportunities, and having healthy relationships with yourself and others,” said Sheri Dawson, Director of the Division of Behavioral Health at DHHS. “Mental health has an impact on every area of life. The importance of good mental health ripples into everything we do, think or say. The key to mental wellness is being proactive and taking care of our mental well-being before issues arise. By focusing on improving mental wellness and building resiliency, you can overcome the hurdles of life and thrive.”

Mental health is important in every stage of life, from infancy, through adolescence and into adulthood. Maintaining positive mental health is crucial to increase productivity, enhance self-image, improve relationships, and improve overall well-being. Mental health is affected by a variety of factors such as work, school, relationships, financial problems, life experiences, physical health conditions, and excessive stress.

Tips to enhance mental wellness:

  • Create a mental health wellness plan: Create a guide of coping skills, people to talk to in stressful situations, and enjoyable activities to ensure that you maintain a good balance.
  • Put yourself first: Self-care is not selfish. It’s important to take time every day for yourself and your mental health. Engage in something that is meaningful and brings you joy. Do what helps you relax and recharge, and seek out experiences that have a calming effect. 
  • Learn a new skill: Creative hobbies can provide a sense of pride and achievement.
  • Exercise: Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Go for a walk, ride a bike, take a fitness class, or play a sport with friends and family.
  • Be grateful: Practicing gratitude every day can invoke feelings of thankfulness and optimism that make managing challenges easier. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake – everyone makes them.
  • Eat well: A balanced diet contributes to both physical and mental health.
  • Get enough sleep: Most health authorities recommend that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day. Avoid caffeine after lunchtime.
  • Slow down: Notice with intention the things you are doing. Draw your awareness to the moment especially those that are positive. 
  • Ask for help when you need it:  It’s a sign of strength to reach out to resources and supports when your mental wellness is suffering. 

Spreading awareness about the importance of mental health and wellness can work to change the stigma behind how individuals think about, approach, and identify mental health issues in our society. Having tough conversations leads to solutions and asking for help is a sign of strength. By spreading mental health awareness, it builds a foundation that respects and appreciates the importance of good mental health and wellness.

Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis? Help is available. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out to:

  • The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline; call, text, or chat 988
  • Your faith-based leader, your healthcare professional, or your student health center on campus.
  • Nebraska Family Helpline – Any question, any time. (888) 866-8660
  • Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (oprime dos para Español) or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

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