St. Luke’s Hospital Senior Life Solutions focusing on mental health

Published 12:10 pm Thursday, April 25, 2024

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Join St. Luke’s Senior Life Solution this May as it celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to spread awareness and help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness. 

We live in a rapidly changing world that can be complex to navigate. About half of Americans can remember a time when we were not constantly connected, and it was easier to tune out the noise of the world, while the younger half of the population can’t imagine life without the internet. 

Modern life can significantly impact mental health—for better or for worse. The disturbing imagery in the media we are exposed to today can be deeply unsettling. At the same time, our current technology also allows us to mobilize and provide collective support more efficiently in times of natural disasters or injustice. 

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Ironically, while our devices make us more connected than ever, loneliness is an increasingly serious public health concern. We are now able to have conversations with friends and family on the other side of the world in real-time. However, constant connection also means that we will know if we weren’t invited to a friend’s party down the street. Recent survey data show that more than half of U.S. adults (58%) are lonely. 

Finding a sense of calm and focusing on well-being when you are having mental health concerns can be daunting in our fast-paced society. It can be especially challenging to know where to start.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Senior Life Solutions is raising awareness of mental health’s important role in our lives, encouraging members of the community to take action toward protecting their mental health and overall well-being.

This month, you are encouraged to educate yourself by taking time to learn more about mental health conditions, their signs, symptoms, and treatment options. Understanding mental health can help reduce stigma and encourage seeking help when needed. Connect with others, reach out to friends, family, or support groups for emotional support and social connection. Talking about your feelings and experiences can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Take breaks from screens and technology, especially social media, which can sometimes contribute to feelings of inadequacy or comparison. Instead, spend time engaging in activities that nourish your mind and body.

“It’s important to remember that working on your mental health takes time,”  said Kandra Cunningham, RN program director of St. Luke’s Hospital Senior Life Solutions. “Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of modern life and develop long-term strategies to support yourself — and others — on an ongoing basis,”

If you’re taking steps to improve your mental health but are still struggling or are not sure where to start on your mental health journey, connect with your healthcare provider today. 

Senior Life Solutions is an outpatient program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults experiencing depression and/or anxiety related to life changes that are often associated with aging or a chronic diagnosis. For more information for you or someone you know could benefit from this program, call 828-894-9890.

Submitted by Kandra Cunningham