May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one in five US adults experience mental illness each year, yet fewer than half of them get care. No one is exempt from the possibility of mental health illness. Patients and providers can both suffer from mental health illnesses.

The fact that more than half of US counties lack a single practicing psychiatrist is alarming. There is no way to expedite an increase in psychiatrists, but that does not mean there aren’t alternatives. There are plenty of other resources available.

Introducing Mindfulness Into Your Daily Routine

Mindfulness has been proven to significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Sam Benioff, the Salesforce chairman, established a “mindfulness zone” on each floor of his buildings to encourage innovation and clear thinking. These zones promote productivity by helping prevent burn-out.

For persons struggling with mental health illnesses, some mindfulness practices may also provide relief.

Along with chronic care management services, Signallamp Health also provides behavioral health integration services. Signallamp nurses do a LOT for their patients— their efforts are genuinely #savinglives— so it’s no wonder that it can sometimes be exhausting for our nurses to do so much work and carry such a burden.

To that end, Signallamp Health has provided StudioBE for personal and communal mindfulness practices. Our nurses enjoy these practices on and off the clock, sometimes committing to sessions with regular frequencies and sometimes just taking a 5–15-minute break with StudioBE to re-center themselves. We want to promote clear thinking and reduce their risk of burn-out.

Practicing Self-Care

Additionally, Signallamp Health offers a monthly seminar workshop. This month our focus was on Mental Health Awareness and encouraging compassionate care in behavioral health, not only for our patients but also for ourselves. Perhaps self-care is another creative resource available to help promote greater self-health, including as it relates to mental health.

Ultimately self-care activities include anything you find restorative. It’s the allowance of self-compassion, without judgment from others because the goal here is to take care of yourself! Our nurses chimed in during the workshop with some of the practices they implement for self-care. Here are a few examples. Feel free to put them to good use.

  • Going to the gym and working out
  • Spa days, massages, manicure, pedicures
  • Walking, running, hiking, and other physical exercises
  • Creative hobbies like crocheting and painting
  • Reading and journaling
  • Listening to music and dancing
  • Coffee dates, wine festivals, or going out to eat
  • Relaxing by the pool or laughing with friends
  • Unplugging from devices and enjoying silence
  • Checking in with loved ones and spending time with family/pets
  • Praying and engaging in mindfulness

One of our nurses says that the best self-care practice she has ever implemented was working with Signallamp. Before joining the Signallamp family, she was not aware of how unhappy she was. Now, she enjoys spending more time at home with her family. This is important, because we all need each other.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

As important as self-care is, it is also important to know when you need help and to feel free enough to ask for it. Another nurse engages in regular accountability with her husband since they both worked in high-stress positions, and now they still check in for a few minutes after hard days. And one nurse admitted that her struggles with depression and anxiety sometimes make her feel “stuck.” Her mom

helps by asking her to name one good thing—one win, no matter how small—and this is freeing and grounding.

So, please: Engage in mindfulness practices. Work with your practice and providers— maybe even your CCM nurse could help! Maybe there are self-care practices you want to implement, or perhaps you have some you want to share. But do not hesitate to reach out when you need help.

Signallamp employees all have access to confidential and free resources, such as counseling. To varying degrees, our employees can engage in asking for the help they need. We want you to be able to do the same.