Wellness Wednesday: Steps Toward a Better Mental Health Year

January 4, 2017

The holidays are finally over, and with it goes the stress and anxiety of the time and a lot of looking forward to the next twelve months. Much is being written about the New Year and how to make it your best year ever. We’d like to take a quick moment to ensure that we talk about how to make this your best year ever when it comes to mental health. Because that’s just as — or even more important — than the other items on your list.

When we say that, we mean that one in five individuals have a mental health-related health issue. The most important thing you can do is to receive proper care for that diagnosis. It means putting the rest of your goals down, setting aside your to-do list, and getting to someone who can give you the help you need. NAMI has a hotline you can call to start the process, but know that once you know what you’re dealing with, you can do something about it.

If you have a diagnosis, we urge you to put your care plan at the top of any New Year’s-related goals. Medication, rest, therapy, time with friends, proper rest, a better diet, meetings, working the steps — whatever the prescribed path to better health may be, please dedicate yourself to getting on it and staying on it. The more consistently you work your care plan, the more you improve your quality of life. Even in the times when it seems hard, don’t abandon your course of action. The best things are worth the wait.

Finally, please help alleviate the stigma against mental health. If you or someone you know is living with a mental health condition, you know how hard it can be to operate in the world at large. Help where you can. Provide a safe space to talk about mental health-related conditions. Stop the jokes where you hear them. Dispel the myths and rumors. Don’t stand for prejudice and misinformation in your presence. Stand up for the rights of those who deal with mental health-related conditions. The more we stand up for what’s right, the sooner the day comes when mental health conditions are treated with the same respect, care and concern as cancer and heart disease. We deserve that day, and we will get there if we make mental health the top focus of our own lives and speak out vigorously for no more stigma and better care for all.

We wish you a year filled with hope, grace, and incredible health and happiness. Happy New Year!