May is Mental Health Month

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.

So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month – Fitness #4Mind4Body – is a call to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

May is Mental Health Month was started 69 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. Last year, Mental Health Month materials were seen and used by over 230 million people, with more than 10,000 entities

This May is Mental Health Month the focus is on how a healthy lifestyle may help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also help people recover from these conditions. Eating healthy foods, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy.

It is important to really look at your overall health, both physically and mentally, to achieve wellness. Getting the appropriate amount of exercise, eating healthy foods that can impact your gut health, getting enough sleep and reducing stress – it’s all about finding the right balance to benefit both the mind
and body.

Learn from these factsheets:

Diet and Nutrition (PDF)
Exercise (PDF)
Gut Brain Connection (PDF)
Sleep (PDF)
Stress (PDF)

For more information on May is Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America’s website at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.

Advertisements

Mental Health Tips for Graduating Teens

graduating

Graduating from high school is a time of excitement and adventure for many young people, but also a time filled with uncertainty. In addition, the end of high school means transitions to college, into jobs, into the military, or out of the foster care system. All of these situations bring up things to think about regarding general well-being, health concerns and diagnoses, and medications.

Your child’s pediatrician can be a wonderful source of advice on helping your teen to transition successfully.

Advice for Parents/Guardians of Teens and Young Adults
Is your child headed to college? Know what to do to support your teen emotionally as he ventures out into the world and away from home base.

  • Make sure that your teen has medical coverage after high school and teach your teen how to access and use it. Many teens and young adults are covered under their parents’ health insurance through age 25.
  • If your teen is going to college, check into the health and mental health support services on campus, and make sure he is familiar with them.
  • In addition to making sure that the graduating patient has all of the vaccines and other preventive health care recommended for this stage of life, pediatricians also can help families to ensure they are preparing the way for their young adult’s continuing mental and emotional health.
  • If your teen has mental health needs, develop a plan of care in advance of your teen moving away from home. For college, this can take several weeks or months to develop.
  • Does your child have a mental health diagnosis, such as ADHD, depression, eating disorder, etc? Be sure to ask the health center staff what kind of medical information they will need related to your teen, and how to set up prescription refills if needed.
  • With your teen, communicate with college or university staff about their accommodations for teens with ADHD and other diagnoses. In addition, consider contacting the college’s Disabilities Office, Academic Advising Office, or Student Affairs Office to determine what accommodations are available for ADHD and other diagnoses.
  • Once your teen is settled into the college routine, keep in close contact and try to get frequent readings about how he is doing academically and socially. This is especially important during the first month or so while teens are still trying to settle in and may not have made friends yet.
  • Do you have a child in foster care who is “graduating” out of the system? Depending on state laws, children in foster care are covered under Medicaid until age 18 or 21 and may need to transition to a different provider. Some may need to transition even earlier to an adult or Transitional Aged Youth mental health provider. Young adults transitioning out of the foster care system need help in identifying caring adults — related or not — from whom they can seek advice, support, and reassurance.
  • Is your teen going straight to work rather than college? Even though she may be remaining at home for a time, her life will change dramatically from when she was in the structured environment of high school, having daily contact with friends. Be sure to give her extra space as a young adult, but realize that she may need help navigating adult responsibilities like bill paying, taking on her own health care, etc. She may be missing her high school life and friends who have moved on. Encourage her to keep up her friendships and to form new ones through work or other interesting activities.
  • Alcohol, drugs and sexual activity may become more accessible at this time. Be clear about your expectations regarding drug and alcohol use are even though your child may not be living at home. Be sure your teen knows where to go — whether on campus or locally — for reproductive health care. Continue to have conversations about peer pressure, good decisions, and consequences.
  • Once your teen turns 18, you’ll no longer have legal access to his academic or health records. After he moves on from high school to college or work, have frequent, one-on-one conversations with your teen as a means of staying in touch.
  • It’s normal for young people starting at college or moving to a new place to have days when they feel sad, homesick, or a bit lost. If these feelings persist or interfere with their ability to work, they should seek help and know that it is normal to do so. Watch for warning signs and be prepared to act.

  • Last Updated 5/5/2015. Source American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2013). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.