Taking Care of Our Mental Health

mental health

When you think about your health, what do you think of? Eating well? Taking vitamins? Hitting the gym or talking a walk around your neighborhood?

When’s the last time you thought about your mental health? The thing is, when we talk about health, we can’t just focus on our hearts, livers or muscles. We have to look at the whole person. Being healthy should be about using your body and mind together.

But what happens when your brain doesn’t work as it should? One in five Americans is affected by mental illness, yet according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about half of those in need don’t get help. Furthermore, the illness impacts more than just the afflicted — it affects caregivers as well.

Each May, we as a country recognize Mental Health Awareness Month to bring awareness to the issue. The Health Journal wants to add to the conversation. This month, you’ll read about how caregivers can best take care of loved ones with dementia. You’ll learn about how being creative can help improve your mental health. And how the simple act of taking your dog for a walk can be beneficial to you and others.

You’ll also read about the latest hot topic concerning antidepressants — how important it can be to take them, yet so hard to stop. Also look for a story by Mike Verano, who writes about how coming out on the other side of depression can make you stronger.

This month should remind us that we can’t ignore mental illness. It’s out there, all around us. What we can do is support each other and make caring for our brains just as important as caring for our bodies.

About the author

Kim O'Brien Root

Kim O'Brien Root was a newspaper reporter — writing for papers in Virginia and Connecticut — for 15 years before she took a break to be a stay-at-home mom. When the lure of writing became too strong, she began freelancing and then took on the role of the Health Journal’s editor in Dec. 2017. She juggles work with being a chronic volunteer for two PTAs
and the Girl Scouts. She lives in Hampton, Virginia with her husband, a fellow journalist, their two children and a dog.

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