Aspirus: Steps to take towards better mental health

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – Aspirus Health recently offered tips on how to achieve better mental health.

“Mental health is an essential aspect of our overall well-being, yet it often remains misunderstood and stigmatized,” a release from Aspirus said. “Understanding its importance and learning effective strategies to manage mental health challenges can significantly improve our quality of life.”

The connection between mental and emotional health

“Mental health is the cognitive and behavioral aspect that we help clients with to feel better and express themselves more effectively,” said Sandra Holmes, MS, LPC, CSAC, a therapist with Aspirus Health. “Emotional health, on the other hand, is ‘what you feel comfortable doing,’ or how one expresses themselves based on the current state of one’s mental health and can be deeply rooted in our upbringing and cultural background.”

Holmes. Photo courtesy of Aspirus.

“In short: When our mental health is addressed, our emotional health tends to reap the benefits,” Aspirus stated.

The prevalence of mental health issues

Holmes pointed out that mental health issues are more common than people realize.

“One in five adults in the United States (is) diagnosed with mental illness each year, with nearly $200 billion spent annually on serious mental health conditions,” Holmes said. “These are only cases that have been reported, but it’s likely even more prevalent. That’s why it’s important to spread awareness about the struggles many people face and the steps that can be taken in support of their condition.”

Daily strategies for mental well-being

Managing mental health requires consistent effort and practical strategies. Holmes advocates for the following daily actions:

Use positive affirmations and acknowledge daily achievements. Holmes suggests reflecting on daily successes.

“What went well today? You can pick one thing or as many as five,” she said, noting that this practice can help counter self-criticism and boost self-esteem.

Seek support. Holmes emphasized the value of talking to trusted individuals or seeking professional help.

“The more you talk to people, the more you realize you’re not alone,” she stated, stressing the significance of therapy and consistent support.

Engage in physical activity. Being active, even in small doses, can be beneficial.

“If you’re unable to move around, what can you do while seated to take care of yourself?” Holmes said, encouraging any form of movement to improve mental mood and overall well-being.

Breaking the stigma

“A significant barrier to mental health care is the stigma associated with it,” Aspirus stated. “Holmes believes that open conversations can help reduce this stigma.”

“Talk to people,” Holmes said. “The more you talk, the more the stigma starts to diminish. Whether you’re in your 40s, 50s, 60s or younger, it’s important to understand what anxiety and depression are.”

Aspirus noted that his recognition can help individuals feel less isolated in their experiences.

“You’re not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with having a mental illness,” Holmes stated.

Holmes encourages everyone to reach out for help and to take care of their mental health.

“By fostering open dialogue, seeking support, and embracing practical strategies, we can better manage mental health challenges and support one another in the journey toward well-being,” Aspirus said. “If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, don’t wait – reach out to your healthcare provider today. Taking the first step towards support can make a significant difference in your well-being. Remember, help is available, and you are not alone.”

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