Good mental health essential

To the editor:

May is Mental Health Month, and as director of the local mental health, drug and alcohol board, I’d like to call attention to strategies and approaches that help all of us achieve wellness and good mental and overall health.

Wellness is essential to living a full and productive life, and it involves a set of skills and strategies to prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness and promote recovery and well-being. Wellness is about keeping healthy as well as getting healthy. It involves complete general, mental and social well-being. And, 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.

Everyone is at risk of stress, demands and challenges from work and home, and there are steps that maintain well-being and help everyone achieve wellness, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills, emotional awareness and connections to family, friends and the community.

Just as we check our blood pressure and get cancer screenings, it’s a good idea to take periodic stock of our emotional well-being. In fact, everyone should get his or her mental health checked as often he or she gets a physical, and many doctors routinely screen for mental health, which typically includes a series of questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness. However, a checkup doesn’t necessarily require a special trip to the doctor, as there are also online screening tools you can use. While conditions like depression are common – roughly one in five Americans has a mental health condition – they are extremely treatable.

Promoting good mental health by prevention and treatment allows a person to maximize his or her potential and to lead a full and productive life. Moreover, each healthy child and adult leads to a healthier society, greater academic achievement, a more productive economy and families that stay together. If you or a loved one would like more information about mental illness and its treatment, contact our office at (740) 282-1300.

Pam Petrilla

Director, Jefferson

County Prevention and

Recovery Board