“Get Connected” - May is the Mental Health Connection Challenge Month
Posted Oct 03 2008 12:52pm
I’ve talked in several posts about the importance of social connectivity, social capital, and interpersonal relationships in terms of their effect on our mental health and well-being. A mental health advocacy organization named Mental Health America has recognized the importance of these factors as well, and has created the Mental Health Connection Challenge in response. The challenge is to make five positive, fulfilling social connections during the month of May. From the article:
"We all need to maintain positive connections to feel a part of our communities and families, which is why this May, Mental Health America is challenging every American to connect to family & friends, coworkers, community members and professional help, if needed," said David Shern, Ph.D., president & CEO of Mental Health America. "Years of research have shown that individuals who feel valued and cared for are better equipped to deal with stress and adversity and even experience less severe illnesses than those with little social support."
Here are the suggestions from the article:
- Connect To Family & Friends - Loved ones are an important source of support and encouragement. Talk to them when you need extra help, allow them to provide guidance and be prepared to help them when they need you.
- Connect To Coworkers - Given the amount of time we dedicate to work, healthy relationships with coworkers are a must. Spend a lunch hour with officemates or reach out to someone you haven't talked to in a while to take a walk or grab coffee.
- Connect To Community Members - Shifting from your own issues to the needs of others can be a healthy change of pace. Select a faith-based organization, school, long-term care facility or non-profit group that needs your help and pitch in.
- Connect To Yourself - Taking time for yourself can decrease stress and improve health and relationships. Try meditating, exercising, enjoying a hobby or reading a book. Whatever you choose, it's your time, so spend it doing something you enjoy.
- Connect To Professional Help - If you're feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope, reach out to a mental health professional. For a referral to local services, contact Mental Health America or your local Mental Health America affiliate at 800-969-6642 and http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/.
At some point I plan on blogging about my personal efforts to increase my social connectiveness (including trying to form an alumni club), but for now, let me just say that while increasing one's social connectivity can be work, it is definitely worth it. You won't regret it.