May is “Mental Health Awareness Month.” According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) association millions of American experience mental situations yearly. It is interesting that many individuals are willing to seek support from medical doctors whenever
their bodies feel sick. Yet, there is a reluctance to seek support from licensed behavioral health professionals whenever their emotional wellbeing is out of balance. Unfortunately, this is due to the “stigma” associated related to mental and emotional health situations. I would like to give mental and emotional health a positive approach. I adhere to the view of Youth.Gov that states, “Mental health is essential for a person’s overall health.” This is due to fact that our physical, emotional, and mental health are interconnected affecting our human domains of wellness. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration has developed an excellent model of wellness explaining how our human domains (emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, and social) impact each other. The impact can be a positive one, if we are able to balance these eight human domains, or it can affect us negatively if we are unable to balance our human domains. Here are few suggestions to balance our human domains to increase a sense of well-being:
1. Do a self-assessment of how balanced your human domains are.
2. Do a self-assessment of how you would rate your “quality of life” from 1 to 5 (1 being extremely low and 5 being high). If you rate your quality of life below a 4, then that may mean you need to pay closer attention to your human domains.
3. Seek emotional and/or mental support if you feel your sense of wellness is missing or it is low.
4. Practice regular self-care (meditation, prayer, religious or spiritual practices, vacations, taking a day off work, etc.).
5. Practice a daily gratitude and/or give meaning to your life situations.
6. Seek support from a licensed behavioral health professional or a medical provider if needed.
7. Learn to manage and cope with stress and/or anxiety.
8. Connect with your natural support systems.
These are just few activities if you would like to explore and improve your overall wellness. “Having self-defined routines and habits can offer personal balance and satisfaction” (SAHMSA, Pp.5, 2016, SMA-16-4958). This month can be an excellent time to do introspection and find ways to improve our overall wellbeing by balancing our human domains.
I thank you for taking the time to read this psychoeducational article. Here are some resources that may be helpful to you: Home | Youth.gov , CREATING AHEALTHIER LIFE, A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO WELLNESS (samhsa.gov) , Mental Health Month | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness .
Author: Noé Vargas, DBH, SSC, NCC
Director of Mental Health and Wellness
Arizona Charter Academy