Mental Health Awareness

It’s safe to say that we are living in challenging times. The stresses brought on by the pandemic, inflation, and recent conflicts have all contributed to anxiety, loneliness and depression levels never seen before. So today more than ever it’s important to check in with ourselves to make sure we’re in a good head space. You could call it “A check up from the neck up!”

Mental health plays a vital role in being able to fully enjoy life. In modern society we tend to focus mainly on our physical health. But mental health impacts our relationships, stress management, and our self-esteem. If we don’t feel good about ourselves then it’s extremely difficult to feel good about anything else.

The first step in determining your own mental health is to take a quick Mental Health Assessment. These tests are easy to complete in 15-20 minutes. It’s very important to give honest answers during the assessment, and with the results you can establish the best path forward and make the right changes needed.

A basic lifestyle change that will reduce your chance of developing depression is to adjust your diet. It can be tough, and the positive changes materialize slower than we would like, but people who eat a diet rich in whole foods like vegetables, fish, fruits, and unsaturated fats are 35% less likely to develop depression. Conversely, highly processed foods involving sugar and frying can increase depression by as much as 60%. The benefits of a healthy diet are tremendous and can be the first step to regaining your happiness.

Exercising can be the next “add on” to your mental health improvement plan. Through altering the chemicals in your brain, such as endorphins, serotonin, and other hormones, exercising will make you happier and sleep better. It can also be an outlet that relieves daily frustrations and reduces skeletal muscle tension, which helps you feel more relaxed. Developing an exercise plan and schedule is crucial to your physical fitness success. The first few weeks are the most difficult, but once you get past them it becomes routine and your mind/body look forward to this daily time.

Meditation is another great tool that can be used anytime. It doesn’t need to involve wearing an orange robe and chanting, but can simply be taking a break from the noise, closing your eyes, and doing an exercise like the Three Minute Breathing Space. The first time I tried this I felt silly and was somewhat apprehensive, but the kicker is, it worked! I felt better and more relaxed and have since made this one of my go-to moves when I need a little serenity. Please give it a try!

Communication is the king when it comes improving mental health. This can be done with the help of a professional therapist but also applies at home. Typically, we discuss our physical ailments with people close to us, but when it comes to our mental well-being, we tend to close that loop. The expected response when someone asks you how you’re doing is “good” but is that an honest answer? Societal expectations have ingrained us with the perception that we must always appear to be “good” in order to be accepted, but when it’s untrue we could be doing ourselves more harm than “good”. New practices are teaching us how to openly discuss our true feelings without fear of rejection. As our understanding of mental health progresses the societal expectations are also changing for the better.

There are many other aspects of mental health. These are just a few of the main ingredients and fortunately for us the tide is turning in healthcare. Today more resources than ever before are being dedicated to finding solutions and offering real help to anyone facing mental health challenges. By choosing to listen, being more empathetic, and exhibiting a higher level of compassion to our loved ones we help them, and in turn that makes us feel good…and helps us.

For more information on Mental Health Awareness tools please visit

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