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Mental Health Toolkit

Mental Health Wellness

Mental wellness, or having good mental health, is vital to well-being. Good mental wellness can be protective to health and leads to improved productivity in the family, community, and workplace. According to the World Health Organization, mental wellness is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (WHO, 2014).

Although acute stress is uncomfortable and can even be life-threatening, chronic stress is more common due to the multiple challenges we face every day. No one can live a stress-free life, but when stress begins to interfere with your ability to live a normal life and it continues for an extended period, it becomes more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate, or irritable for no good reason.  Additionally, people experience headaches, GI disturbances, back pain, and an increased risk of coronary disease to name a few. The impact of mental wellness on physical health, and vice versa is undeniable.

Recognizing personal behaviors that do not support health and implementing behavior changes may be the best protection available.

 

The following handout was created to be used as a resource to help individuals evaluate themselves, much like using an asthma action plan. The goal would be to spend most of your time in the green “safety zone” to provide the most protection of your well-being. When the behaviors listed in the yellow “caution” or red “danger zone” are present, consider paying attention and adding some self-care activities.

The reverse side includes suggestions for starting a personalized self-care plan.  Other strategies or interventions may be written in the spaces provided.  Select several items that would be easy to do in your schedule every day to establish healthy habits.  Selecting items that you find enjoyable when you are feeling well would be ideal.  Revising your strategy periodically is also a good idea to stay current and to move toward the green zone on the action plan.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Mission:  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) mission is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Mission:  To transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.

National LGBT Health Education Center

National LGBT Health Education Center

The National LGBT Health Education Center provides educational programs, resources, and consultation to healthcare organizations with the goal of optimizing quality, cost-effective health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)

National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.  Educate, Advocate, Listen, and Lead.

Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC)

Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC)

Stephen Illardi, Ph.D., University of Kansas, Department of Psychology. 

We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially-isolated, fast-food-laden, frenetic pace of modern life.”  —Stephen Ilardi, PhD

Several videos are embedded in this site, including Dr. Illardi explaining the elements of the TLC program during a TED Talk.  Additionally, each component of the plan has a short video on the “TLC elements” tab.

TLC Elements

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements
  • Anti-Rumination Strategies
  • Exercise
  • Light Exposure
  • Social Support
  • Sleep Hygiene