As April showers turn to May flowers and we start getting eager to head out of our homes and engage in spring/summer activities, we also want to spend some time celebrating a very important month: Mental Health Awareness Month!
In the United States, one in five adults experiences a mental illness each year according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). May has been Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States since 1949. The designation was made to help improve outreach and awareness to the public and local communities for the purpose of increasing knowledge of mental health.
Mental health is defined as both psychological and emotional well-being. Often when we think of mental health, we associate negative thoughts; mental health month strives to reframe this mindset and focus on having healthy and positive mental well-being. There are many things we can do in a preventative mindset to help improve mental health.
In February 2018, Mountain Laurel Medical Center launched a wellness initiative that introduced the use of the MyStrength tool for staff, patients and community members. MyStrength is an on-line platform designed to encourage users to self-manage their mental health and well-being.
The program contains learning activities to help gain coping skills to better manage symptoms related to depression, anxiety, stress, substance use disorders, chronic pain and sleep, just to name a few. MyStrength encourages users to log on daily to check in and track current symptoms and complete learning activates. It also provides an inspiration section full of quotes and positive affirmations.
Mountain Laurel works diligently to meet the mental health needs of our patients and improve overall community health. In addition to the MyStrength platform, Mountain Laurel has a behavioral health team of eight employees including licensed social workers, a clinical psychologist, a community health worker, and a medical assistant. Telepsychiatry is also offered to patients!