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Mental Health -- More Than a Month Long Endeavor

Written by Richard Wirtz, PsyD

As the month of May comes to a close, I am reminded of a card that a former client sent me last year at this time. The card had been prompted by the placement of a large banner outside our office building that read “May is Mental Health Month”. Our practice name and logo appeared on the banner so she knew who was responsible for the banner (the same banner that has been hanging outside our new office all this month). Inside the card she wrote of her relief to learn that May was Mental Health Month because she had been trying to be mentally healthy all year long. How much easier it would be to only have to work on that for a month! I got quite a laugh from the card initially but later realized that there was a serious element to her message.

Being mentally healthy requires effort just like being physically or spiritually healthy. To be healthy requires a level of mindfulness or awareness of ourselves in all these spheres of our existence. To be mentally healthy we have to be willing to honestly assess our role in important relationships, evaluate how we are managing our emotional world, and accurately gauge the impact of the events in our lives on our sense of wellbeing. The effort doesn’t end with the awareness. Being healthy also often requires a willingness to challenge old ineffective behaviors, to develop new healthy coping strategies, and to learn to live in the moment with acceptance. Definitely not a month long endeavor! Hope 2014 is a mentally healthy and happy year for you! Let us know if we can help you achieve that goal.

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