Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

May 22, 2013

Wellness the focus of Mental Health Month


The Herald-Tribune

— May is Mental Health Month, and Community Mental Health Center, Lawrenceburg, and Mental Health America are raising awareness of “Pathways to Wellness,” the theme of this year’s campaign, which calls attention to strategies that help all Americans achieve wellness and good mental and overall health.

According to Mental Health America, wellness is essential to living a full and productive life. Kevin Kennedy Sr., CMHC public relations manager, points out, “We may have different ideas about what wellness means, but it involves a set of skills and strategies to prevent the onset or to shorten the duration of illness and to promote recovery and well-being. It’s about getting healthy as well as keeping healthy.”

Wellness is more than an absence of disease. It is defined as an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence. It involves complete general, mental and social well-being.

Mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being, which is tied to the balance that exists between emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health.

A pathway to wellness example can be good health, saving more money, healthy relationships, being good to yourself, showing gratitude, keeping good friends close, taking care of your community, looking for a new job and learning how to let go.

There are steps that help maintain well-being and 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.

This year’s focus on wellness coincides with an initiative undertaken by CMHC to become a more trauma-informed, recovery-oriented and wellness-oriented agency. “Mental health and substance use recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential,” Kennedy says.

CMHC has a Recovery Transformation Steering Committee in place that is helping direct a variety of activities to engage consumers, communities and staff members in working together to forge the recovery transformation from the consumer to the community to the agency.

CMHC continues to pursue primary care integration into its services, working in collaboration with The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, which has generously provided grant funding to support the initiative. The center operates the Harmony Health Clinic, which provides a variety of primary health care services to clients, as well as helping them access other providers in the community.

CMHC uses a network of facilities in Batesville, Brookville, St. Leon, Lawrenceburg, Rising Sun and Vevay to provide services in the region. The center offers an array of services – from outpatient counseling to inpatient services to community and school-based services to transitional and permanent housing for individuals with serious and persistent mental illnesses – throughout this network. CMHC employs professional staff, from case managers to psychiatrists, to provide these services.

One in five children and adolescents experience mental health challenges that impact early learning, social interactions and the overall well-being of their families, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration statistics. Youth may encounter a variety of issues, including attention problems, post-traumatic stress and depression.

One Community One Family, the Systems of Care collaborative in which CMHC is a community partner, hosted a community celebration of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day May 9 at Hillcrest Country Club.

OCOF has worked to publicize child and adolescent mental health matters in all eight of the counties in the Systems of Care collaborative – Franklin, Ripley, Dearborn, Decatur, Jennings, Ohio, Rush and Switzerland.

Kennedy advises, “If you, or a friend or a neighbor, are dealing with depression, anger, stress, substance abuse or addiction, grief or another mental health issue,” CMHC can be contacted at 812-537-1302 or toll-free at 877-849-1248, or visit the Web site at www.cmhcinc.org to find a nearby office.

Emergency services are available 24/7 at those phone numbers.

For more information about Mental Health America and Pathways to Wellness campaign, visit the Mental Health America Web site at www.mentalhealthamerica.net.