Pathways to Wellness – Essential to Leading Full and Productive Lives
Pathways to Wellness — this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month — calls attention to strategies and approaches that help all Americans achieve wellness and good mental and overall health and fully embracing the concept of wellness.
“Wellness is essential to living a full and productive life,” said Teresa Cox Reading, Registered Nurse and Chair of Mental Health America of Fort Bend County who is serving her second round as Chair since 2001 and a member since 1996. She continues, “We may have different ideas about what wellness means, but it involves a set of skills and strategies that prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness and promote recovery and well-being. It’s about keeping healthy as well as getting healthy.”
“Wellness is more than absence of disease. It involves complete general, mental and social well-being. And mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. The fact is our overall well-being is tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health.”
“Everyone is at risk of stress given the demands it brings and the challenges at work and at home. But there are steps that maintain well-being and help everyone achieve wellness. These involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness, and connections to family, friends and the community.”
“These steps should be complemented by taking stock of one’s well-being through regular physical as well as mental health checkups.”
“Just as we check our blood pressure and get cancer screenings, it’s a good idea to take periodic stock of our emotional well-being. One recent study said everyone should get their mental health checked as often as they get a physical, and many doctors routinely screen for mental health, which typically include a series of questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness. But a checkup doesn’t necessarily require a special trip to the doctor. There are also online screening tools you can use. While conditions like depression are common—roughly 1 in 5 Americans have a mental health condition—they are extremely treatable.”
“Fully embracing the concept of wellness not only improves health in the mind, body and spirit, but also maximizes one’s potential to lead a full and productive life.”
“Using strategies that promote resiliency and strengthen mental health and prevent mental health and substance use conditions lead to improved general health and a healthier society: greater academic achievement by our children, a more productive economy, and families that stay together.”
“It’s why pathways to wellness are so important and why we need to spread the word. On another note,” stresses Teresa, “a person is not the sum of their illness, physical or mental. A person HAS an illness, they are NOT the illness.”
May is Mental Health Month was started 64 years ago by Mental Health America of Fort Bend County’s national organization, Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for everyone. For anyone needing help please visit the Mental Health America website at www.mentalhealthamerica.net and for crisis information call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.