Resources for Mental Health Awareness Month
What do exercise, art, gratitude, and spending time in nature have in common? All of these practices have been scientifically proven to positively impact an individual’s mental health.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), one in five Americans or nearly 53 million adults in the U.S. are affected by mental health issues.
This month, we’ll be highlighting mental health resources from our collection. Whether you’re looking for resources for a friend, loved one, or yourself – the Library offers everything from books about mental health to State Parks passes to increase your endorphins through time outside.
Books and Literature
by Oliver Sacks
Researchers at NIMH have found that practicing gratitude for just five minutes per day can lead to long-term mental health benefits. This book chronicles Oliver Sacks’ thoughts, wishes, regrets, and feelings of gratitude even as he faced the cancer that ended his life at age 82. In essays that originally appeared in the New York Times, Sacks relates what makes him happy—simply to be alive on a beautiful day, for example.
by Jennifer Ashton
ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Ashton becomes both researcher and subject as she focuses on twelve separate month-long challenges to improve mental health. She cites the potential benefits of specific practices including exercise, earlier bedtimes, minimized alcohol, and less screen time.
by Mary Beth Jansen
Heal mind, body, and soul with this collection of self-care rituals and tips. In this guide, wellness educator Mary Beth Janssen offers helpful practices to improve mental health. She profiles a range of activities and exercises, including karma cleanses, meditation and breathwork, emotional housecleaning, setting boundaries, deep sleep, and beauty rituals.
by Deborah Vlock
Readers who feel overwhelmed by the numerous and ever-present challenges of parenting a child with mental health issues will feel connected, supported, and hopeful through this book. Vlock has been living with these challenges since her four-year-old started talking about suicide. Her own experience along with the stories of other parents, input from experts, and children who live with a range of mental health struggles themselves will help readers navigate various parenting challenges.
According to the World Health Organization, depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents. Providing documents and excerpts from various government agencies, along with some original material, this book supplies teens with information on mental health and illnesses, including causes, warning signs, diagnosis, and treatments.
Gadgets and Things
A growing body of research by physicians and psychiatrists included in the revered “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal,” shows access to greenspaces (or nature/public parks at large) can lead to improvements in young people’s mental well-being.
Objects available in our Gadgets and Things collection to help you get outside and enjoy some fresh air include a Gateway Natural Areas pass, a State Parks pass, and a Larimer County natural resources kit (which includes a backpack, nature guides, and more).
Oftentimes, venturing outdoors also means getting a little bit of exercise, which studies conducted by the National Institute of Health have shown to be as effective in treating mild to moderate symptoms of depression as antidepressants. Want to start keeping track of your exercise? Check out one of our Fitbits!
Movies and TV
According to Harvard Medical School, yoga is proven to have multiple mental health benefits – among them are stress reduction and a release of endorphins during an individual’s practice. In this guided class, you’ll develop a personalized yoga routine that will work for you in the everyday realities of 21st-century life. (Kanopy)
Have you heard of positive psychology? This film combines cutting-edge science from this new scientific field with real-life stories of people from around the world whose lives illustrate these findings. (Kanopy)
Looking for more mental health resources? Drop by a library to pick up materials from Summit Stone Health Partners. The state of Colorado also offers free therapy sessions for children under the age of 18. As author John Green said, “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”