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Mental health center encourages 'Pathways to Wellness'

Posted: Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Alamosa City Councilor Marcia Tuggle, front left, presents a proclamation for May as Mental Health Month to San Luis Valley Mental Health Center Chief Operating Officer Kristina Daniel. From left behind them are Alamosa City Councilors Josef Lucero, Rusty Johnson, Leland Romero and Greg Gillaspie, Mental Health Center Director of Development Clarissa Woodworth, Mayor Kathy Rogers and Councilman Charles Griego. Courier photo by Ruth Heide

VALLEY — Pathways to Wellness—this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—calls attention to strategies and approaches that help all Americans achieve wellness and good mental and overall health.

“Wellness is essential to living a full and productive life,” said San Luis Valley Mental Health Center’s new Chief Operating Officer Kristina Daniel. “We may have different ideas about what wellness means, but it involves a set of skills and strategies prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness and promote recovery and well-being. It’s about staying healthy as well as getting healthy.”

Clarissa Woodworth, director of development at the Mental Health Center said, “Wellness is more than absence of disease, it involves complete general, mental and social well-being. Mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. The fact is our overall well-being is tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health.”

Woodworth said everyone is at risk of stress given the demands and challenges at work and at home. But there are steps that maintain well-being and help everyone achieve wellness. These involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness, and connections to family, friends and the community. Woodworth said these steps should be complemented by taking stock of one’s well-being through regular mental health checkups.

“Just as we check our blood pressure, it’s a good idea to take periodic stock of our emotional well-being. One recent study said everyone should get their mental health checked as often as they get a physical, and many doctors are now screening for mental health, which typically include a series of questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness. But a checkup doesn’t necessarily require a special trip to the doctor. There are also online screening tools you can use. While conditions like depression are common—roughly 1 in 5 Americans have a mental health condition—they are extremely treatable.”

“Fully embracing the concept of wellness not only improves health in the mind, body and spirit, but also maximizes one’s potential to lead a full and productive life,” Daniel said.

“Using strategies that promote resiliency and strengthen mental health and prevent mental health and substance use conditions lead to improved general health and a healthier society; greater academic achievement by our children, a more productive economy, and families that stay together. “It’s why pathways to wellness are so important and why we need to spread the word.”

San Luis Valley Community Mental Health Center serves the entire San Luis Valley citizens. Please call: 719-589-3671 or email info@slvmhc.org.

Mental Health Month was started 64 years ago by the national organization, Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for everyone. For more information about MHA http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

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