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Dear HCCUA Members:

Millions of Americans live on a daily basis with various types of mental illness and mental health problems, such as social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit/ hyperactive disorder, eating disorders and personality disorders. There are so many layers of mental illnesses, it is difficult to scratch the surface.

A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. The ordinary demands of life such as working, shopping, cooking, or going outside can be difficult to cope with. Some serious mental illnesses include major depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and Tourette’s syndrome.

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. As people become familiar with their illness, they recognize their own unique patterns of behavior which in turn can make life manageable. However, because mental illnesses have no cure, treatment must be continuous.

The recovery journey is unique for each individual. One important thing to keep in mind is that recovery is a process, not an event. The uniqueness and individual nature of recovery must be honored. While serious mental illness impacts individuals in many ways, the concept that all individuals can move towards wellness is paramount.

Numerous treatments and services for mental illnesses are available. The choice and combination of treatment and services selected depends on the type of mental illness, the severity of symptoms, the availability of options and decisions determined by the individual, often in consultation with their provider and others.

The first step is to recognize an issue is present, then seeking help for that issue. Studies have shown that only one out of every three people actually seek help and suggests that the people who need help the most are typically the least likely to get it.

As a valued HCCUA member we have chosen LifeEvents to provide you and your family members with free access to health experts anytime. Licensed clinical staff are always available by phone to help you with any problems or stresses that may pop up. A counselor can assist you with issues such as marriage, children, parenting, alcohol and drug abuse, legal/ financial difficulties and other emotional/ personal challenges or stresses.

Furthermore, included with the January e-Newsletter is an article on The Top 10 Benefits of Exercise to Help with Mental Illnesses to motivate you to exercise for your health! We have also included a recipe for a light Chicken, Arugula & Butternut Squash Salad with Brussel Sprouts to get everyone back in the habit of eating right!

Kristine Eckardt, Director of Member Communications,

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