By GREG BORJA
NMPASI Projects Specialist
When it comes to a holistic approach to wellness, as defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Eight Dimensions of Wellness, we may at times neglect our psychological or mental/emotional wellbeing. This is largely due to factors like stigma or an embarrassment we may feel when admitting we need help for our mental health.
Stigma can be defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance or quality.” A lack of understanding often shrouds our community when we are faced with behaviors from ourselves or our loved ones that are outside the “culturally accepted norm.” Through education and awareness we can lift this veil in order to seek a pathway to find the assistance we need to cope with what is happening to us. Measures are currently being taken in our community by programs, such as the System of Care, that strives to transition us out of the shadows of shame and into the light of recovery.
Stress in our daily lives that that may lead us toward the need for psychological wellness. There are strategies that we can use to assist in handling these feelings, and contribute to the other seven Dimensions of Wellness that keep us in balance. The following are not scientifically proven methods to handle stress, but they are ideas I use when dealing with my own experiences:
* Strengthening our Social Wellness by building healthy relationships through a culture of Dignity and Respect with our friends and family may reduce our stresses and positively influence our Emotional Wellness.
* Finding satisfaction in the jobs or work we do, not only increases our Occupational Wellness, but adds to our Financial Wellness.
* Caring about where we live and for those around us can improve our Environmental Wellness. For instance, participating in cleanup projects on our roads and beaches not only lifts our Spiritual Wellness, but has the potential to impact our Physical Wellness through body movement. It has been said that, “a healthy body is a happy body.”
* Finally, by increasing our knowledge about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness we expand our Intellectual Wellness again helping us reach a balance in our lives.
While we focus on our wellness, we must not forget the wellbeing of our youth. Our islands have received funding for services to assist our youth and their families in improving their care and opportunities through a System of Care. Our System of Care believes that “our children deserve to live in a community whose understanding of, and respect for, mental health issues are constantly evolving and that actively encourages help-seeking behaviors for those struggling with Severe Emotional Disorders.” This type of proactive approach in addressing our island’s needs, paves the way toward a promising future in which the generations to come will have support to strengthen their Emotional Wellness and maintain a healthy balance in their lives.