Prioritizing Your Mental Health

By Dr. Cerrissa Hugie
 Doctor of Nursing Practice    |    MyNDSpace Mental Health Services

We are finally beginning to feel a sense of normalcy again in the aftermath of the pandemic. In the past two years, we have certainly seen an exacerbation of mental health conditions. For these reasons, we must prioritize our mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as, “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community” (WHO, 2004). You might be surprised by this definition because typically when we talk about mental health, it is often in the context of mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. While these illnesses are highly prevalent, this definition speaks to the fundamental principles regarding the importance of mental health. Mental health has everything to do with our ability to make a meaningful contribution to the world. In fact, depression has the greatest burden of disease than any other health condition and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. To give you more context, more people are out of work for depression than heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, injury, etc.

Depression greatly impacts a person’s functionality and hinders their ability to operate at full potential. Signs and symptoms of depression include losing interest in activities you once found enjoyable, fatigue, decreased motivation, sleep disturbance, decreased concentration, feelings of guilt, increased irritability, and changes in your appetite. Suicidal thoughts are a sign that you need medical attention. Please visit your nearest Emergency Department or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Here are some mental health tips for the summer:
1. Pay attention to your emotions, not only when you feel the most joy, but also the emotions
that bring discomfort.
2. Give yourself the space, the time, and most importantly the permission to feel ALL of it.
3. Seek to uncover the lessons that both joyous and challenging times are teaching you.
4. Take the necessary steps to support your emotional wellness, healing, & recovery.
5. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

Now more than ever, the mental health of our community has become mission critical. In fact, the most important things we desire in life depend on it. Prioritize your mental health because it affects every aspect of your life. Prioritize your mental health not because it’s going to be easy, but because it’s absolutely worth it.

This article was featured in the July 2022 issue of Carolina Bay Neighbors magazine.


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