May is Mental Health month and it is important to understand that millions of Americans live daily with the struggles of mental illness. As a marriage and family therapist I have witnessed the affects mental illness can have on loved ones. It is important to identify signs or symptoms the individual or family is struggling with and find the proper resources available. I work with clients on Awareness and believe when we are aware of our circumstances, we can gain access to the tools and resources we need which prepares us to live healthy, happy lives.
Kathryn (Kitty) Durden, MA, LMFT, LCASA
What does Mental Health Awareness Month mean to you? The answer I am proposing is this is a time to reflect on your own self-care. The focus should be on “how are you a factor in your own equation of life.” As a result of the roles and responsibilities we have on a day-to-day basis, it is easy to live life going through the motions. Dare I say, live in mediocrity - leading to a lackluster experience, not feeling appreciated, or feeling taken for granted.
How are others going to count you as a factor if you are not a factor in your own life? However, you have a choice in this matter! Yes, I said choice. We are always empowered with a choice; the question only is whether you assert your power or give it away. It is your responsibility to teach those in your environment how to care, love, and appreciate you. What better way than leading the charge to your care by giving yourself permission to take mental health self-care days throughout the year, allow yourself spa time, sit by the water, read, meditate, gather with true friends, etc.
Your best offering to those you care for is you functioning in your greatest self, anything less is pale. Without caring for yourself by counting yourself as a factor in your own equation of life, how can you offer those you care for the best of you? Caring for yourself leads to a life worth celebrating. You are deserving of it and it's yours to have.
Todd Malloy MA, LMFT, CST
Mental health is foundational to the overall quality of a person's life. When we support good mental health, we can connect to positive change in the world around us.
Dawn Holmes M.Ed, MMLIS, LCMHCA
For more information on learning how to care for yourself contact Inner Peace Counseling Center at www.innerpeacecounselingcenter.com, (704) 937-2286, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.