Jody Pierce, LCSW
The Mind/Body Connection. The Mental Health Association of Colorado has declared the month of May as Mental Health Month! The emphasis this year is on spotlighting the mind/body connection as we now have a greater understanding of the link between physical and mental health. We know that stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung problems, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. We know that chronic stress can double someone’s risk of having a heart attack and that 75% of visits to the doctor’s office concern stress related problems. Mental health reduces negative physical reactions and improves our overall quality of life! Mental health helps us cope with the inevitable stresses of life and enables us to make more effective choices and decisions.
Neglecting our mental health not only affects our physical health, but our work productivity, our relationships and our general satisfaction with life. Mental health conditions are one of the leading causes of workplace absenteeism and can contribute to substance abuse problems.
Don’t neglect your mental health. Every year more than 19 million adults experience clinical depression causing them to lose energy, motivation, and pleasure in everyday life. Fewer than half of those suffering with depression seek treatment however, as they may believe it isn’t serious enough or that they are weak and need to overcome the depression on their own. This is a serious burden individuals may place on themselves; especially since depression if treated properly, can result in almost everyone feeling better. If you have some of the following symptoms please talk to your physician and/or a mental health professional: sad feelings most of the time, thoughts about death or suicide, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, loss of appetite or change in appetite, restlessness or irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
For additional information through the Mental Health Association of Colorado go to www.mhacolorado.org.