Maintaining Your Good Mental Health for a Better Life

When your mental health is in good shape, your physical health, relationships, and overall quality of life also tend to be in good shape. But life can be challenging. And as you face serious health issues, the loss of loved ones, or begin to lose your ability to get out, it can take a toll on your emotional well-being.

And, if you’re already dealing with mental health concerns, misuse of alcohol or drugs can affect your physical health and quality of life, too.

This page offers you resources that can help you keep your mental health, healthy. It also includes links to resources that can help if you’re worried about substance use issues for yourself or someone you care for.

Common Mental Health Issues

Depression Resources

Everyone feels down sometimes, it’s a normal part of life. But if you’re feeling depressed all the time, or you no longer enjoy or want to take part in activities you used to enjoy, you may have a more serious problem. Below are resources that can help you understand depression better and find relief.

The Mayo Clinic provides information on recognizing and dealing with depression.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, call mentalhealthhotline.org’s  24/7 Depression Hotline - 866-903-3787 for immediate help.

Anxiety Resources

Feeling nervous or anxious on occasion is ok. But if anxiety is making it hard to function, you may have a chronic condition that needs help from a professional. And don’t think you are alone. Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million Americans making it one of the most common concerns – but in most cases anxiety can be overcome.

If you or a loved one is feeling overly anxious, you can get immediate help through the mentalhealthhotline.org’s free 24/7 Anxiety Hotline - 866-903-3787.

Social Isolation and Loneliness Resources

Social isolation and loneliness can have a physical as well as an emotional impact and can lead to depression. Loneliness can also make older adults more susceptible to illness and even an earlier death. We’re here to help, with programs and services to keep loneliness at bay.

Togetherness Callers. We’ll match you with a SCAN employee for a little “togetherness” time on the phone each week. Learn more

SCAN Learning Communities. Our Learning Communities connect SCAN members for virtual social groups as well as for educational, health and wellbeing classes. Learn more

You might also want to check out these resources:

Friendship Line 1-800-971-0016
Available 24/7. The only accredited crisis line in the country for people aged 60 years and older and adults living with disabilities.

9 Ways to Cope with Loneliness offers some great ideas for things to do on your own.

Grief and Loss Resources

You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone. GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people providing support through one of life’s most difficult experiences. Enter your ZIP code on the site to find a group or event near you.

It can be helpful to understand the stages and types of grief. This HelpGuide has practical and insightful information.

Mental Illness Resources

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a mental illness, please see your primary care doctor for an initial mental health screening. From there your doctor can provide any needed referrals to mental health specialists. In the meantime, you may want to explore additional resources online.

The National Institute of Mental Health offers a number of hotline resources and other information at Help for Mental Illnesses.

The CDC offers these Mental Health Tools and Resources.

Who to Call if You or a Loved One is in Crisis

Emergency Medical Services—911
If you need urgent assistance, please dial 911 immediately, 24 hours a day.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (TTY: 1-800-799-4889) Note: Starting in July 2022, dial 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. On-line chat is also available. Provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. Also offers prevention and crisis resources. 

Friendship Line 1-800-971-0016 This 24/7 service is the only accredited crisis line in the country for people aged 60 years and older and adults living with disabilities. 

SAMHSA National Helpline 1‑800-662-4357 (TTY: 1-800-487-4889) Provides 24-hour free and confidential treatment referral and information about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention and recovery in English and Spanish. 

Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 (TTY: 1-800-799-4889) Connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential hotline, online chat, or text.

 

Tools and Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health

Maintaining Mental Health with Exercise

Even moderate exercise can be good for your mental health. Regular activity releases endorphins into your bloodstream to help you feel better. For example, just 30 minutes a day of walking or cycling can help improve your mental health and wellbeing. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Here is an article with so some great ideas for minding your mental health.

Good Sleep is a Health Essential

Sleep is essential to keeping your mind and body functioning well. Problems sleeping can be one of the first signs of a mental health problem, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, check out the resources below to learn how to get a better night’s sleep.

Finding Focus with Meditation

One way to improve your wellbeing and mental health is through meditation techniques. Meditation is especially helpful for reducing stress and can even improve your sleep. Studies show it can also reduce depression and anxiety, and help people manage chronic pain.

Try the Headspace App. As part of your SCAN benefits, the Headspace app is available at no additional cost. It’s designed for mindfulness and meditation and features hundreds of exercises for meditation, sleep, focus, and movement. You can use Headspace on your smart phone, tablet, or computer.

Want to know more about the benefits of meditation? Try searching YouTube for ‘Meditations for Being Present’ or ‘Mindfulness Meditation to help Relieve Anxiety and Stress’ to find more guided meditations.

Volunteer in the Community

Getting involved with others is a great way to lift your own spirits while doing good. If you have time to spare, consider volunteering—no matter what your skill or interest, there’s an organization who would appreciate you! Many local organizations are looking for help, but here are a few places to start your search:

Volunteer Match: Matches inspired people with inspiring causes.

LA Works Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP): Offers volunteer opportunities uniquely designed to tap into the experience, skills, and wisdom that those age 55 and over bring.

JustServe: Use this site to find volunteer opportunities in your specific area.

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