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Every year during the month of May, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health.

It is stated on the NAMI website that one out of five adults in the United States experience mental health struggles each year and less then half receive help.

There are numerous barriers to people seeking out treatment including stigma, the negative attitudes and beliefs that society holds about those experiencing mental health conditions. 

Often public perception tends to view mental health concerns as different then physical illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.  This stigma can lead people to delay or avoid professional treatment all together. The one in five statistic makes it likely that all of us know at least one person struggling with mental health right now. Being familiar with local and national resources such as NAMI are vital in providing support to those in need. 

Locally there are numerous options for those needing help. In addition to many private therapists, Deschutes County Mental/Behavioral Health provides assistance to those experiencing mental health concerns.

For those in crisis, the County Stabilization Center and crisis phone line offer immediate assistance. Additionally the Community Crisis Response Team, created in May of 2023 offers mobile help, sending a therapist to a 911 call that is mental health related. 

Many mental health conditions require psychiatric medications either short term or long term to maintain stability and improve quality of life. Working with a trained prescriber who takes an individualized approach to find the right medication is essential. 

There are healing activities and approaches that can be added to a mental health treatment plan depending on someone’s individual condition and experiences. Prior to initiating any of the following, it is important to speak a health care professional to be aware of any contraindications.

Exercising especially in the outdoors is known to improve mood, through increased production of endorphins as well as increased blood flow to the brain. This can be as simple as taking a walk, or going on a bike ride. Incorporating regular exercise that someone enjoys can add a significant benefit to mental health.

Yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation also have known benefits to improve mood and overall mental health. Specific poses including mountain pose, child’s pose, happy baby, and forward fold are simple ways to boost mood. 

A healthy nutritious diet including a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, and healthy protein will enhance mood.

Supplements of Vitamin D, B12, B6, and Omega3’s all support the brain and neurotransmitter process. 

This May, make mental health a priority for yourself, family, and friends. Together we can change the stigma and create space where treatment is the norm.

Resources:

NAMI nami.org

Deschutes County 24 hour Crisis Line: 541-322-7500

By Dr. Laurie Grisez, ND

We Are Physicians Who Listen

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