The staff at Crossing Rivers Health Behavioral Health reminds area residents that May is Mental Health Month. According to Mental Health America, the observance started in 1949 to raise awareness about mental health and the crises that occur when mental health concerns are not addressed early and effectively. The theme for the month, Risky Business, encourages people to educate themselves about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing mental illness or that could themselves be signs of mental health problems.
Ashley Hady, Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Crossing Rivers Health Behavioral Health, commented, “The observance of Mental Health Month provides an excellent opportunity to remind everyone that mental health should be of concern to everyone. Millions of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness or disorder at some point in their lives. Mental disorders are common, and they affect most every family. If left untreated, these disorders can significantly reduce the quality of life of an individual.”
Mental health disorders cause mild to severe disturbances in thoughts and behavior. “If you or someone you know is experiencing changes in your appetite, feeling especially restless or irritable, or have frequent thoughts of death or suicide, you may be experiencing some of the warnings signs and symptoms of a mental health problems,” said Hady. She added, “It is important to pay attention to sudden changes in thoughts and behaviors. Other symptoms include feeling sad, empty, hopeless, worthless or guilty; a change in your energy level or sleep pattern; loss of interest or pleasure in activities; or difficulties with concentration or decision making.”
Christine Dressler, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, recently joined the Crossing Rivers Health Behavioral Health staff. She earned her Master’s Degree in mental health from the University of Wisconsin and her Master of Science degree in nursing from Viterbo University in LaCrosse.
Dressler explained, “It is important to treat your mental health with the same importance as your physical health. Here are a few simple strategies for better mental health adapted from Sharon Martin Counseling. It is also important to learn and practice the assertive skills to use these strategies.”
- Treat yourself with kindness.
- Cut yourself some slack. Say ‘no’ when you need to.
- Step out of your comfort zone.
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
- Embrace your mistakes, they don’t define you.
- Be truly present.
- Make rest a priority; make fun a priority, too.
- Slow down. Savor good memories.
- Make new friends.
- Laugh often and anticipate joy.
- Appreciate what you have.
- Learn from your mistakes.
- Write down your successes.
- Clear out physical and emotional clutter.
- Move your body more. Get outside.
- Pursue a hobby. Create something.
- Put your phone down and connect with the people you’re with.
- Confide in trustworthy people.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- You don’t have to do it all; prioritize what matters most.
Becky Miller, Licensed Professional Counselor, is also a member of the Behavioral Health team at Crossing Rivers Health. She earned her Master’s of Science in Education Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Becky brings her experience of working with adults, children, and adolescents to the behavioral health team.
Miller encourages individuals and family members to seek professional help. She said, “It may be beneficial and comforting to discuss situations with friends or other family members, but oftentimes professional counseling and treatment is needed for people to regain their mental health to return to an enjoyable and fulfilling life. Let’s work together to get you on the right path to better health. Our team is ready to assess and treat adults, children and adolescents with behavioral health concerns.”
Appointments are available at Crossing Rivers Health Behavioral Health in Prairie du Chien and at the Crossing Rivers Health Clinic- Fennimore. To learn more visit crossingrivers.org or call 608-357-2700.