By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith/ Community Columnist
October is National Emotional Wellness Month. Emotional Wellness Month is an opportunity for each person to take charge of their emotional wellness, seek counseling, find soothing activities that work for them and look for new ways to cope. There are numerous reasons why a person might seek mental health counseling, but once a person reaches a point where they are feeling overwhelmed it is recommended to reach out for mental health counseling.
“The issues we face in life that become overwhelming differ between every individual,” said Christy Haigler-Hall, licensed social worker of The Wellness Group LLC of Clanton. “They might include grief, loss of a loved one, job, health, divorce, depression, anxiety, phase of life changes, childhood trauma and many other reasons.”
According to the National Institute of Health, ways to improve emotional health include getting quality sleep, reducing stress, strengthening social connections with others, looking for ways to brighten your outlook and coping with loss such as joining a grief support group.
“Emotional health is specifically targeting a person’s ability to manage and express emotions that extend from what one learns and experiences in life,” said Haigler-Hall. “Emotional wellness also involves one’s ability to recognize and empathize with other’s emotions.”
Many times, family or friends become aware of a person’s emotional instability and do not know how to effectively support them.
“Be aware of any changes the family member may be having, such as a change in diet, socially or spiritually,” said Haigler-Hall. “If you are concerned about someone go to them and express concern and offer to listen. In times of need, we often need someone to listen, not give advice. The power of someone just being present is huge!”
Stereotypes are also often placed on people receiving mental health services.
“The idea that someone is weak, troubled or ill if they reach out for help is a common stereotype,” said Haigler-Hall. “It is also very common for people to think ‘I should be able to handle this,’ so they tend to not reach out for help in fear of being judged.”
Haigler-Hall says people also may not reach out for mental health help due to religious reasons.
For more information, contact The Wellness Group LLC at 205-280-7733 or visit the National Institute of Health’s Emotional Wellness Toolkit online www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit .