A number of organizations that promote good mental health, such as Mental Health America (MHA), the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), have set aside May as Mental Health Awareness Month.
The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) has singled out a principal threat to good mental health as STRESS, defined as "our body’s response to pressures from a situation or life event" or, "the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable
The causes of stress can vary widely, depending on an individual's sensitivities and life experiences, and some stress can even be beneficial, as when hormones, such as adrenalin, briefly cause a "fight or flight" response, so one can react quickly to dangerous situations.
However, when the stress is not short-lived, and persists over time or occurs repeatedly, leading to a nearly continuous state of "fight or flight," this can take a serous toll on one's body and mental health.
The potential avenues to stress-reduction are many, including: identifying the cause(s); making lifestyle changes; developing supportive relationships; adopting a healthy diet; engaging in mild physical exercise; moderating smoking and drinking; getting restful sleep; taking time for oneself; trying mindfulness meditation, and so forth.
Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is making its modest contribution by holding a Stress-Relieving Coloring Contest. A full-size version of the illustrated "Anchor of Hope" coloring page is available at their offices, 319 W. Main St. in Batavia.
Color the page and we will hang it in our lobby for the month. Enter your page in our Mental Health Month contest for a chance to win a gift basket full of items sure to relieve stress.
Another FREE stress-relieving activity, "Keep Calm and Bingo On," will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at the ILGR Batavia office. Token prizes will go to those who indeed get to shout – calmly – BINGO!
ILGR in Batavia has moved into a news space; it's at 319 W. Main St. Batavia.
For more information, call Donna Becker at (585) 815-8501, ext. 411.
Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.