May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Administration Update

May 1, 2019

Why Care?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The words “mental health” currently indicate diagnosable mental conditions. But what is mental health?

Mental health is defined by the Mental Health Foundation as “the absence of diagnosable mental health problems.” While this makes sense, it doesn’t quite cover what mental health is. When we see others or we participate in a gathering, joke, tell stories, and re-connect, we call that “fun” - but it is also mental health. Sleeping soundly, learning something new, taking time to decompress, exercising – these are all things that  bolster mental health. Even feelings and all that goes into recognizing them, expressing them, etc., is part of mental health. When we work to accomplish goals we have set, we build the confidence mental health uses to encourage us when things don’t go our way.

Mental health is not really the absence of mental illness but the presence of habits, attitudes, learning, people, and activity that supports meaning in our lives. This differs for each person.

Since May is Mental Health awareness month, make time to notice the little things in your life that helps you feel fulfilled, connected, and capable. Appreciate how these help you, support you, and energize you. If you want a practical way to notice the little things that could help your mental health, each time you smile ask yourself, “What just happened.” Take a moment to appreciate that joke, picture, news, activity, whatever it is. Do this throughout the month of May you will find you will greet June with more energy and momentum because you will see more opportunities to smile.

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