Boost Your Mental Health with Exercise

Mental Health Awareness Month offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on and reprioritize our mental health and wellness. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking time for reflection is important; knowing what drains our energy and what gives us energy strengthens our ability to honor and take care of ourselves. I want to highlight one tool within our mental health and wellness toolbox:  Exercise.   Exercise is an excellent tool for relieving stress, increasing energy, and promoting positive wellbeing. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity. However, you do not need to push through a session at the gym to receive the perks associated with regular physical activity. Walks around your neighborhood, opting to take stairs, and even doing squats while your brush your teeth can all provide benefits. Studies show that regardless of age or fitness level, exercise can provide some mental health benefits, such as: Promoting happiness  Exercise releases endorphins, creating feelings of happiness and euphoria. Research has shown that, in some cases, exercise works as well as medication in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression – and the effects can be long-lasting. One vigorous exercise session can alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time.  Preventing cognitive decline The brain [...]

2022-04-29T09:56:39-04:00May 1st, 2022|Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health|

NDSD: A Yearly Event with a Daily Calling

Imagine a world where we can “call in sick” because our depression is worsening or because anxiety is peaking to a point of emotional and physical paralysis. A world where we can fearlessly acknowledge our mental health challenges and receive support rather than skepticism or judgment. In our society, we are afforded sick days to treat varying physical health conditions, but it is “invisible” pains that create hesitance. Mental health stigma promotes a falsehood that proof is needed to justify anguish. This year more than ever is important for centering our mental health needs. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly eight in 10 adults identified the coronavirus pandemic as a significant source of stress in their lives. Locally, we witness the daily weight of gun violence, poverty, systemic racism, and trauma. However, we can all contribute towards promoting mental wellness in big and small ways. Each year, National Depression Screening Day provides an opportunity to break stigma and recognize mental wellness matters. Behavioral health partners offer multiple sites to receive free behavioral screenings along with valuable resources and the support of trained professionals. We can use Oct. 7 as an opportunity to take a behavioral health screening, reach out to loved ones, or normalize mental health challenges, whether someone else’s or, most importantly, our own. Although this reflection [...]

2021-10-14T13:18:43-04:00October 7th, 2021|Awareness, Depression|

Behavioral Health at Any Age: No One Needs to Struggle Alone

Many areas of behavioral health can be something of a mystery to the general public. Myths and misconceptions about mental health and substance use are often significant obstacles to looking out for the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones. Talking about suicide does NOT plant the idea in someone’s head. Many mental health conditions are preventable. Depression is NOT a normal part of aging. Let’s focus on that last one. It’s worth repeating; experiencing feelings of depression is not a given as we grow older. However, behavioral health problems like depression often go undiagnosed in older adults. Older adults as well as their loved ones and even their healthcare providers sometimes dismiss symptoms of depression as “normal” signs of frailty – inevitably, our bodies grow physically weaker as we age. However, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)notes that many equivocate symptoms of depression with the physical weaknesses of aging, leading them to ignore these indicators of a potential mental health issue. Others believe that feelings of depression are just the natural result of changes in life that typically happen to older adults. Major life events more common to older adults – such as retirement, the death of a loved one, or moving out of the family home – can be stressors that impact our behavioral health. Facing the loss of someone [...]

2021-03-25T16:38:55-04:00January 15th, 2021|Depression, Older Adults|

National Depression Screening Day 2020

Author: Maria Boswell, Director, Health Promotion, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services Every October, on National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), we encourage everyone to get “a check-up from the neck-up” and talk about mental health.  National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) seeks to educate, raise awareness, reduce stigma, and connect Philadelphians with mental health screenings and resources. How do I know I might have depression?  If you struggle with depression, you can have trouble sleeping (sleeping too much or not enough), concentrating, and very low energy. You can lose interest in activities you once enjoyed, lose confidence in yourself, and feel worthless. Some people have recurring thoughts of death or suicide, and can often feel trapped or desperately alone. Depression can be a very painful and frightening experience.  For many, depression can show itself in angry outbursts, frequent crying, irritability, or problems at home, work, or school. Depression can feel like you are all alone, and you can’t imagine that anyone else feels as much pain as you do. Well, that’s not true. Depression affects 40 million families each year, and other people feel and have felt similar to you. People are reluctant to seek help for many reasons, including embarrassment, shame, fear, and social stigma. For some people, hiding their depression seems like the only solution. For others, finding negative ways [...]

2021-01-28T23:11:12-05:00October 5th, 2020|Depression|
Go to Top