While one in five people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. The good news is there are practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency – and there are ways that everyone can be supportive of friends, family, and co-workers who are struggling with life’s challenges or their mental health.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and was started 70 years ago by a national organization, Mental Health America (MHA). Community Hospital-Fairfax’s Senior Life Solutions program is highlighting Mental Health America’s #Tools2Thrive – what individuals can do daily to prioritize their mental health, build resiliency in the face of trauma and obstacles, support those who are struggling, and work towards a path of recovery. This May, Senior Life Solutions staff are exploring topics that can help individuals build their own set of #Tools2Thrive – recognizing and owning one’s feelings, finding the positive after loss, connecting with others, eliminating toxic influences, creating healthy routines, and supporting others – all as ways to boost the mental health and general wellness of individuals and their loved ones.

“When it comes to your feelings, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you are feeling them,” said Chelsea Miller, LPC, Program Therapist of Senior Life Solutions. “Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with, but taking the time to identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. It’s okay to give yourself permission to feel.”

MHA has developed a series of fact sheets (available at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may) to help people understand how to balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, and physical health and mental health – and set yourself on the path to recovery.

“For each of us, the tools we use to keep us mentally healthy will be unique. Mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible,” concluded Miller. “Finding what works for you may not be easy, but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes.”

For more information, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may or call Community Hospital-Fairfax’s Senior Life Solutions at 660-686-2319.