This May, make mental health a priority. Every May, the U.S. puts a spotlight on mental health by commemorating it as Mental Health Month.
The goal is to continue to raise awareness of mental health and making it a national health issue. Not only that, but also helping people learn and share how to treat mental health issues.
This is especially important in the U.S. with an aging population. Learning about mental health and helping fight stigmas around it is another goal of making each May Mental Health Month.
An Aging Population
We’re growing older in the U.S., census data shows. We’re in a 25-year period in which the U.S. population is aging.
From 2013 to 2038, the number of Americans age 65 and older will have increased by 50%, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In that 25-year period, the number of Americans age 85 and older is expected to more than double from 6 million to 14.6 million.
The Prevalence of Mental Health Issues
In the older adult population in the U.S., about one in five have one or more mental health or substance abuse conditions. The mental health conditions can include depression, which occurs in 16% of women and 11% of men.
Mental health in older adults is also affected by other chronic conditions. They may include:
- Substance abuse issues
- Cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s or dementia
About two out of three older adults have two or more of the chronic conditions, according to SAMHSA.
But there are some ways to improve your mental health. Some easy ones include putting down your phone and taking a break from social media and media such as the news. Other easy ways entail being active, meditation, enjoying personal quiet time, quality time with family or friends, and other healthy habits.
Four Mental Health Improvement Tips
Try these four tips to improve your mental health:
1) Be open to mental health considerations. You can learn about mental health through SAMHSA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others.
Here’s a helpful mental health awareness toolkit that gives you tips, information, and resources for mental health. Having an open mind about your mental health and the mental health of your friends, family, and loved ones creates a healthy environment for you as well.
2) Have creative outlets. Finding creative outlets during the day will help you relieve the stress you may experience. SAMHSA suggests something as simple as going back to school — as in enjoying a coloring book, which is like art therapy. Try doodling, painting, playing cards, or other creative outlets to get stimulate your find and improve your outlook and attitude.
3) Enjoy exercise or other physical activity. Don’t feel like you need to be a workout queen or king. Start easy even! Go for a walk, go swimming, try dancing, or yoga, stretching, or other physical activities. Being physically active helps both your physical and mental health.
4) Make a daily routine. Scheduling things you enjoy to start and end your day is great for your mental health. It can be as simple is a morning cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Find an interesting book to read or start a puzzle. Find a partner to start regular exercise with, or simply meet up with friends.
A CARING-FIRST ENVIRONMENT
Senior living communities like Auburn Hill Senior Living are precisely that—a community. Residents become friends and even family, and a caring team is there to help them maintain their quality of life.
At Auburn Hill Senior Living, we offer both Assisted Living and Memory Care and we care with Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Residents first and Teamwork. We like to call it Caring with H.E.A.R.T.™!