Written By Destanie Ontiveros, NCT9-1-1 Communications Coordinator
Since 1949, the United States has recognized May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health and wellness are important year round and the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) is helping raise awareness by sharing some impactful self-care exercises, tips, and resources. Self-care tips and exercises include meditating, reading, yoga, and resting while professional resources include the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and counseling services.
When we think about mental health and wellness, we often tend to focus on the “mental” aspect of our health and wellness. Mental health and wellness include emotional, psychosocial, and social well-being. To keep from overlooking the emotional and social aspect of mental health and wellness, some exercises that can be helpful are practicing meditation and yoga. Meditation is a great way to clear your head of thoughts and emotions when you need a break. Some days, we need to shut our brains off and reconnect with our bodies. Oftentimes, clearing your head to decompress is effective and helpful.
To further take care of our physical well-being, exercise can be a great outlet to utilize. Whether you’re looking for a low impact form of exercise like yoga, or a high impact form of exercise like running or swimming, exercise in all forms positively impacts one’s mental health. Physical exercise is a great way to take care of your physical health while also helping your mental health and wellness. Sometimes all you need is to blast your favorite band or music genre and focus on your body with a good workout.
We all know we’re supposed to get at least eight hours of rest every night to fully recover and rejuvenate, but sometimes we can underestimate just how much sleep or lack thereof affects our mental health and wellness. The National Institute of Mental Health recommends us to make sleep a priority. To fully rest and refresh our minds, it is important to rest.
Speaking of rest, a great way to wind down for the night is to read. Reading is a great way to let your eyes rest from the strenuous light of technology. We’re all crucially aware of our screen time on our personal devices. What better way to give our eyes and minds a rest than to crack open a book? Reading can be a great way to wind your mind down for the night.
For professional resources, there are counseling services available. Attending counseling services is a great way to manage and maintain your mental health and wellness. If you or a loved one are currently attending public or private school, counseling services are at your disposal. Most insurance policies cover counseling services either for free or at a fraction of the cost. To find a free or low-cost counselor, visit the Therapy Aid Coalition website. The Therapy Aid Coalition also offers free counseling services for all first responders.
Another professional resource is the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. If you or someone you know are struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. You can also chat online at https://988lifeline.org/chat/. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is completely free, confidential, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1. To learn more about the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, visit the website here.
Mental health and wellness are different for everyone, so it is important to find the resources and or self-care practices that work for you. It may take some practice to find what works for you. We hope the resources and tips shared help you find what you need to positively impact your mental health and awareness.