Look Around, Look Within

Your surroundings say a lot about your mental health

May is Mental Health Month so we’re taking a closer look at our surroundings and how it affects our mental health. In the coming weeks we’ll focus on small steps we can take to make a big difference.    

Take a moment to consider your surroundings. Do you feel safe? Did you have access to healthcare and grocery stores? Does your home support you, both physically and mentally?

Where a person is born, lives, learns, works, plays, and socializes, as well as their economic stability help determine the quality of your health. The more these factors work in your favor, the more likely you are to have better mental wellbeing. However, when it seems like the world is working against you, your mental health can suffer.

While many parts of your environment may be out of your control, there are things you can do to change your surroundings and protect your wellbeing:

Work toward securing safe and stable housing: If you do not feel safe in your home or community, there are state and local agencies that can help. Community centers or a friend’s home can be a haven to get the comfort you are missing at home.

Focus on your home: Consider keeping your space tidy, sleep-friendly, and well-ventilated. Surround yourself with items that help you feel calm and positive.

Create bonds in your neighborhood and community: Get to know the people living around you, join or start a neighbors-helping-neighbors group, and support local businesses.

Connect with nature: Try to get outdoors and walk or sit in a park – and bring nature inside with plants or opening the shades for natural light.

If you’re taking steps to improve your surroundings but are still struggling with your mental health, you may be experiencing signs of a mental health condition. Take a free, private screening at mhascreening.org to help you figure out what is going on and determine next steps.

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