Mental health key to a good life

Many people and organizations recently took part in National Prevention Week, a national health observance sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It is dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues.

May 23 was Promotion of Mental Health and Wellness Day. Wellness concerns maintaining an overall quality of life and the pursuit of optimal emotional, mental and physical health. SAMHSA defines wellness not as the absence of disease, illness or stress, but the presence of purpose in life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body and living environment and happiness.

The state of one’s mental health can influence the ways in which they look at themselves, their life and others around them. It also strongly influences an individual’s potential for achieving goals and is an important tool in obtaining and maintaining a feeling of well-being.

National Prevention Week echoes a key message of the U.S. Surgeon General’s National Prevention Strategy, emphasizing that prevention should be woven into all aspects of our lives-including where and how we live, learn, work and play-and that everyone has a role in creating a healthier nation. Montgomery County Allies in Prevention is proud to be one of many organizations around the country encouraging people to make a difference in their communities and lives as part of National Prevention Week.

Some tips on how can you promote mental health and wellness include: following a healthy lifestyle, working with your primary care doctor, quitting smoking and preventing and managing stress. Healthy eating and diet are part of a wellness strategy that focuses on nutrition, as well as physical activity and weight management.

The words and actions of one person can also make a positive difference in the lives of others. Every day, parents, caregivers, educators and community leaders in Montgomery County can make a difference by having conversations with youth about substance use and by modeling healthy choices and behaviors.

For more information about National Prevention Week, mental health and substance abuse issues, visit www.samhsa.gov.

For more information about MCAP, call 736-8188.

GINGER M. CATO

Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties