By Lakreese Johnson
Behavioral Health Director

Relax. Relate. Release. This was a mantra made famous by the popular TV show, A Different World’s near-perfect character, Whitley.   After experiencing multiple stressful events, she found herself at the door of a mental health professional that assisted her in re-examining her life and encouraged her to walk in her truth.  This was a momentous episode!  It helped to highlight the process, educate a community and a shed light on a subject matter that carries a tremendous stigma. This one episode was the first step toward de-stigmatization for a huge following that flocked to the television every week and proved that everyone has challenges dealing with life, and that mental health professionals can identify, assist and support anyone who needs assistance.

This was a momentous episode.  It helped to highlight and educate a community and age group who flocked to the television every week that everyone has challenges dealing with life, and that mental health professionals can identify, assist and support anyone who needs assistance.

Mental health treatment is not just for those who have a formal mental health diagnosis.   Mental health treatment can assist those who are experiencing multiple life-stressors that can affect their daily functioning and overall outlook in life.

Advantage Health Centers’ Behavioral Health Team has been created and designed to identify stressors, develop coping skills and empower patients to care for their emotional, psychological and social being.   We are often taught about the importance of seeing our Primary Care provider yearly but how much time do we spend caring for our emotional well-being?    How does your emotional well-being affect your physical health, your perception of life, relationships and your current ability to achieve every goal you have established?

Behavioral and physical healthcare are often seen as separate entities. However, they are one in the same and it is imperative that we care for ourselves –our mind, body and soul.   A simple start to a more stable mental health is to take time to examine your life.  Are you happy?  Are you at peace? Do you sleep well at night?  How often do you smile?  How will others described your personality?   Do you have racing thoughts?  Are you able to sleep throughout the night? Are you easily angered?   Are you moods stable?

The first step is examination. Examine and identify your daily moods and thoughts.   Take time to examine your thoughts and how you experience life. Then, write down what you’ve identified.

This blog, like good mental health, is a process. This is the first step. Come back and stay tuned for future blogs on the next steps to better mental health!!!!