January Is Mental Health Awareness Month

January Is Mental Health Awareness Month

One in four people struggle with mental illness and are negatively impacted by work, school relationships, financial issues and stress.

Sheri Dawson, Director of Behavior Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, tells KLIN News the first part of wellness are knowing your strengths.

“Think about things your life that make you feel unbalanced, that make you feel stressed or things aren’t going to your hopes and dreams,” she says.

She says the first step is eliminating negative triggers. Other tips include a wellness plan, find a supportive group of friends and among other things – get enough sleep.

Another crucial factor is eliminating the stigma.  Over 450 million people struggle with mental illness.

Dawson says the biggest challenge is our self.

“People say when they start feeling bad, sometimes don’t feel like they can talk to anybody, they should be able to handle things, it’s not that big of a deal, why am I like this?” she says.

Dawson says you need to find someone to help hold yourself accountable.

The department is working on a three-year strategic plan designed to improve mental health awareness and answer a new question.

“I believe that all of us in government and in public service really try to not just focus on when people are not well and what services and supports we can provide them, but what can we do to get to people earlier and help them longer,” she says.

Dawson says they’ll be conducting surveys in the future for residents’ input.