MAY is Mental Health Month

Mental illness is no stranger in my family. There is suicide on both sides and a history of depression in my  immediate family, including myself (post-partum depression and a double whammy when I went through menopause and divorce at the same time.) So books on mental health and websites are very helpful in my constant quest search for good information on mental health.

I came across a book at Acme, of all places, by June Hunt, entitled Depression: Walking from Darkness into the Dawn. (Choice Books, info@pa.choicebooks.com), $3.99. Her definition of depression, or as she writes, Classic Characteristics of Depression, include the Mind, Emotions, Will & and Body.  The author also lists four classic kinds of depression: normal, masked, neurotic, and psychotic. Her lay terms make reading this book easy to understand.

On p. 31 is a list of six physical contributors to depression: hormonal imbalance, medication & drugs, chronic illness, melancholy temperament, improper food-rest-exercise, and genetic vulnerability.

NOTE: The author is a religious counselor, so much of the book is related to God’s love, which I don’t identify with, because when depression takes over your heart, mind, soul, and body I believe it is a combination of  all the six above-mentioned contributors, and while spiritual beliefs (regardless of your religious beliefs) enter into it, I think the issue is too broad to be placed in a biblical context. She does say you need practical help, which I interpret as professional help along with support of friends and family.

When I Googled Mental Health Month, the website that came up was www.mentalhealthamerica.net. Their theme, coincidentally very appropriate for my website, Mind Your Health, is linked to the six physical contributors listed above from June Hunt’s book. And since this is a website about staying healthy, it all fits, especially when statistics show that women more than men suffer from depression.

Here is the introductory paragraph website: (I have put important info in BOLD.)

For 65 years, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. The 2014 May is Mental Health Month theme is “Mind Your Health.” Our goals are to build public recognition about the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness; inform people of the ways that the mind and body interact with each other; and provide tips and tools for taking positive actions to protect mental health and promote whole health.

This statement is also interesting because it demonstrates that the medical community is beginning to realize what alternative therapies have already shown, that is, their is a definite link between the health of the body and the health of the mind, and vice versa. The website lists 7 ways to improve your overall health, which will  have a positive impact on your mental health. The second item on the list is: Healthy Diet: Eating with Mental Health in Mind.

Without realizing it, I think when I post healthy recipes for the body, the ingredients also help keep your mind healthy. The body/mind connection cannot be separated.

I highly recommend this website, because total health includes body, mind & spirit.


P.S. Two interesting articles on mental health, one the medical model and one the alternative model:

In Women’s Voices for Change: “Can Brain Scans Diagnose Mental Illness?” by Dr. Cecilia M. Ford, Ph.D. in http://womensvoicesforchange.org/dr-ford-can-brain-scans-diagnose-mental-illness.htm

In Life Extension Magazine: http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2014/jun2014_A-New-Way-To-Manage-Depression-Without-Drugs_01.htm .

One Response to “MAY is Mental Health Month”

  1. Mary-Lou Meyers Says:

    So much of what you say is true and of course what was outlined in the book. Many writers (including Hemingway where many of the family members committed suicide) and poets, who did the same They seemed to have a sensitivity evident in their works, but are unable to maintain stability in their lives.
    Descriptive terms have helped us deal with such issues as Manic Depression experiencing the extremes
    of emotion. Some people can live through upheavals that would defeat other people, and they are unable to cope without seeking assistance or resorting to drugs. It has been proven that a poor diet
    especially among the elderly makes them more prone to mental disease. I find the benefits of exercise,
    particularly walking in the fresh air helps alleviate the strain of every-day pressures. It’s valuable to have a supportive network to be able to tap if one is feeling a breakdown coming. You spoke about doing something new everyday, new sights, new things to learn, I wonder if this wouldn’t help.

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