The Mental Health Connection
Happy 2023! We look forward to working in partnership with you to help more people in need. Sometimes we are among these people. In an effort to help others, we may not make our own wellness a priority. It’s important to be mindful of our mental health and practice daily self-care. You can discover how you’re taking care of your mental health in This Month’s Tip below. The new year is filled with possibilities as well as change, like the multitude of new laws governing health care services in California this year and bills still in legislation. Welcome the new year and embrace the possibilities. As author Alex Morritt points out,
“New Year — a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.”
Annette Conway, PsyD
January is Mental Wellness Month and National Mentoring Month
Mental Wellness Month We usually are filled with festive cheer while celebrating the holidays. Yet, for many, these events are the predecessors of struggles about to come. The rates of seasonal depression, loneliness, and post-celebration blues are at an all-time high following New Year’s Eve. Mental wellness month is celebrated every January as a reminder to take better care of our mental health. We should all work to release stress, find more joy and improve our relationships. National Mentoring Month January is designated a time to celebrate the power of supportive and meaningful mentor relationships. With the start of a new year comes opportunities to share our knowledge and experiences to help others fulfill their dreams through being a mentor.
Misconceptions About Pre-Surgical Evaluations
An individual’s mental health has an impact on their physical health. For example, most patients have an emotional response to the idea of undergoing surgery. Fear, sadness, anxiety and depression are not uncommon. Yet the patient may not be aware of these emotions and the effect their mental state can have on them or on the outcome of the surgery.
Many people think pre-surgical psychological assessments are done to disqualify them from surgery. Actually, these evaluations are an important part of the surgical process and help to ensure that individuals are able to not only undergo the surgery safely but also be prepared to do what’s necessary to recover effectively from the surgery.
Mental health professionals should make sure to address these misconceptions with the patient in order to get the most accurate assessment.
During the evaluation, patients can discuss their concerns and expectations and ask questions. Many individuals undergoing surgery will find their lifestyle will change significantly—temporarily or permanently. Knowing what will or may change and accepting these outcomes is very stressful.
This is why it’s crucial for individuals to be honest and thorough about their current emotional state and mental health history. The patient and the mental health professional work together to ensure the individual is mentally, as well as physically, prepared for the surgery, is willing and able to follow the post-op instructions and will likely experience a positive outcome.
The mental health professional helps identify the individual's strengths and any risk factors that may impede successful recovery. Then, the patient and mental health practitioner can work together on any areas that may benefit from additional support after the surgery. Some of these areas may include emotional and psychological reactions to the surgery, working with caregivers or following post-surgery instructions.
Recovery support can be invaluable. Having someone supportive to confide in after the surgery can make a dramatic difference in recovery. Discussing any challenges the individual faces along the way and working out solutions can significantly improve post-surgery results—physically and psychologically.
This Month’s Tip Tips to Strengthen Your Mental Health Since January is Mental Wellness Month, it’s fitting to look at ways to enhance our own mental wellness in the new year.
Practice self-acceptance and self-care: Engage in meaningful activities that bring you joy. Seek calm and relaxing experiences. Read more here.
Be mindful and grateful: Bring your attention to the present moment and what you are doing and thinking. If you happen to have a negative outlook, stop and be grateful for what you have. Practicing gratitude regularly can help you see things more positively and help you through challenges.
Leave work at work: Whatever happened at work, take a deep breath and let it go (at least until you are back at work). Appreciate the positives in your day. Then turn your attention to home and focus on relaxing.
Eat for health: Eat lots of veggies and other healthful foods. A nutritious diet can improve mental and physical health.
Get quality sleep: Get 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep each night. Avoid caffeine after lunchtime and electronic devices a few hours before bedtime.
Get moving: Find a few activities or exercises you enjoy and get your body moving for at least 30 minutes daily. Exercise can help lift your mood and lessen symptoms. Mental health professionals should also make sure to address these misconceptions with the patient in order to get the most accurate assessment.
Ask for help when you need it: Reach out to family, friends, co-workers, or other resources who can support you. Talk with a mental health professional if you need a safe and non-judgmental person to help you work through your challenges.
Burnout in Mental Health Professionals Burnout is an occupational condition that has physical and emotional consequences for an individual. But these consequences affect more than the particular individual. For psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals, this condition can adversely affect their patients and their treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a brief addressing burnout in mental health professionals. It states in this publication that an estimated 50% of mental health care providers report feeling burnt out due to:
High levels of stress
Perceived lack of career advancement opportunities
“The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.” - Rachel Naomi Remen
To understand burnout as it relates to mental health professionals, we need to know how it’s defined and what causes it. [READ MORE]
No Name-Calling Week
January 11-21, 2023
See National Today for more information.
National Fun at Work Day
January 27, 2023
See National Today for more information.
Partner with us!
Are you a psychologist, LCSW or LMFT? We’re always looking for exceptional mental healthcare providers. Visit helptherapy.com for more information and fill out the quick and easy application.
Do you have something to share?We’d love to hear about your successes and accomplishments! Have you:
Written an article?
Given a presentation?
Have a client success story?
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