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May is Mental Health Month

Did you know that one in five American adults experienced a mental health issue?  Did you know that one in ten young people experienced a period of major depression?  In any given year, an estimated 18.5% of adults and 13% of children (ages 8-15) in this country suffer from a mental illness.
May is Mental Health Month and a good time to be reminded that Mental Health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.  Mental Health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being.  It affects the way that we think, feel, and act.  It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.  (www.mentalhealth.gov)
Experiencing one or more of the following feeling or behaviors can be an early warning sign of mental illness:
 
-Eating or sleeping too much or too little 
-Yelling or fighting with friends/family
-Pulling away from people and usual activities 
-Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
-Having low or no energy 
-Feeling numb or like nothing matters 
-Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
-Having unexplained aches and pains 
-Feeling helpless or hopeless 
-Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
-Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual 
-Thinking of harming yourself or others
-Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried or scared 
-Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school
 
The good thing is that there is help available.  Many don’t seek help because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Actually it may surprise you how many people have reached out for help and we don’t even know it. Praying is a good place to start but remember that God has sent professionals to help us with all our illnesses. Start by talking to your regular physician. He/she will help navigate what to do next. Here are some other ways to maintain positive mental health:
• Connect with others                    • Stay positive
• Exercise & stay physically active  • Help others
• Get enough sleep           • Develop coping skills
 
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. -Psalm 139:23
 

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