Mental health is a major issue in the United States, but especially in the veteran community. Many veterans struggle with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Roughly 22 veterans commit suicide every day – one every 65 minutes. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
May is Mental Health Month and, in observance, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is hosting several programs intended to highlight the life-changing possibilities that stem from treatments.
According to Wikipedia, “Mental Health Awareness Month was started in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health).” The theme for 2018 is #Fitness4Mind4Body.
“Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings,” says the organization’s website. “We welcome other organizations to join us in spreading the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using the May is Mental Health Month toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities.”
A major aspect of mental health is physical health, and that’s why fitness is the key theme this year.
“When we talk about health, we can’t just focus on heart health, or liver health, or brain health, and not whole health. You have to see the whole person, and make use of the tools and resources that benefit minds and bodies together,” says the nonprofit organization.
Throughout the month, MHA will focus on the following areas of fitness:
- Diet and nutrition
- The gut-brain connection
Living a healthy life means making small changes every day – both physically and mentally. MHA realizes that change is hard, so the organization has put together a Change is Hard Worksheet to help you get started.
If you or a loved one struggles with depression, anxiety, stress, anger or depression, don’t wait to seek help. The VA is encouraging veterans to share their stories throughout the month of May by visiting MakeTheConntection.net/mhm.