Prioritize Mental Wellnes

Garrett and Diana Richter, DLC Volunteers, Mental Health Advocates and Philanthropists.

Many thoughts come to mind when considering wellness such as being physically fit, of sound mind or self-sufficient.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified eight dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, occupational, financial, spiritual and environmental wellness. When all eight are flourishing, a person is well; however, if anyone of them is not receiving enough attention or care, it will impact the overall quality of life.

Because mental health affects all areas of wellness, it is important to check in with these dimensions regularly to improve your overall wellbeing and encourage the same from those around you.

David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC), Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit behavioral health provider serving children, adults and families, provided a record-breaking number of services in 2021 – a number that has risen year-over-year as the mental health and addiction crises rage on during these unprecedented times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prioritizing mental wellness has never been more critical to better ensure our community is healthy, well and safe. DLC’s community-wide campaign, Mind Your Mind in 2022, encourages the community to participate in a month-by month approach to mental wellness – promoting acceptance, awareness and openness.

As a community, we can establish a common goal to prioritize mental wellness — it begins with each of us. When we care about ourselves, we can care for others too!

Here are five reasons we should collectively prioritize mental wellness:

  1. Overall health Each body part is important, but the brain is our control center. Acting like a computer inside our head, the brain is responsible for communicating with and coordinating the rest of the body. When mental health is affected, other aspects of wellness can be affected too. By paying attention to our mental and emotional health, our overall health will improve.
  2. Reduce stigma Our society has made great strides in overcoming the negativity associated with mental health challenges, but there is still room for improvement. Understanding the concerns your community faces related to mental health and having conversations with others on the topic helps to break down the walls of stigma. Feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment or disappointment should not be associated with mental wellness. By placing increased value on brain health, we can foster an environment that encourages openness and acceptance around mental wellness.
  3. Increased need, strained access Florida continues to rank near the bottom of the 50 states when it comes to public mental health funding. With the influx of people that have moved to the area in recent years, combined with the rising number of challenges being experienced, the mental health field is desperately trying to keep up. Applying preventative techniques, like utilizing healthy ways to manage emotions and conflict, may reduce the need for crisis services.
  4. Information overload Along with the benefits of the internet and smartphones, there are also several dangers to be aware of. One major risk is the prolonged exposure to negativity and information that leaves us feeling anxious, sad and/or angry. In the age of technology, our brains are constantly processing the information we consume —including the tragedies and hardships felt worldwide. Without adequate time to work through it all, we subject ourselves to a non-stop rollercoaster of emotions. It is time to give it a rest and dedicate our focus to things that are positive and uplifting.
  5. It is OK to not be OK Life is unpredictable and things happen that are beyond our control. A sign of true wisdom and strength is knowing when help is needed and reaching out to ask for it. Seeking guidance for mental wellness should be met with the same acceptance asa physical health concern. Support and assistance are available, whether it is to overcome a temporary hurdle or to cope with a lifelong challenge. Not a single person has been left untouched by stress, anxiety and fear from the pandemic.

Visit to learn how you can take action to prioritize your wellbeing in 2022 with free access to videos, articles, activities and tips.

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