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New Campaign Helps Americans Deal With Stressful Times
Date:4/27/2009

Mental Health America's "Live Your Life Well(SM)" Offers 10 Proven Tools to Combat Stress and Promote Well-Being

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- From financial worries to family responsibilities, Americans are dealing with ever-increasing stress in their lives. To help handle these challenges, Mental Health America today launched an innovative public education campaign to provide people with tools to deal with stressful times. Called Live Your Life Well(SM), it features a wealth of research-based information, coupled with strategies that can help combat stress and promote well-being.

"The economic crisis has added to the daily stress that all American families face, and may be increasing their risk of depression and anxiety as well," said David Shern, Ph.D., president of Mental Health America. "Live Your Life Well(SM) is the first program in the U.S. that brings together the information needed to help all Americans in difficult times and throughout their lives. Good mental health is much more than just the absence of illness -- it's about being able to handle life's challenges and even flourish."

The heart of the program is the Live Your Life Well(SM) Web site (http://www.liveyourlifewell.org), which provides 10 evidence-based tools to bolster mental health. "Research is clear that good mental health is essential for overall health and well-being," said Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., noted author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach for Getting the Life You Want and a psychologist at University of California Riverside. "There are actions that people can take that can improve their mental health and increase their well-being, and even modest changes can make a real difference."

Live Your Life Well(SM) is unlike any other public education campaign. It offers scientific evidence for a range of concrete actions that promote mental wellness. The contents are derived from decades of behavioral and medical research with thousands of individuals, often conducted at major universities or funded by government agencies. Written in consumer-friendly language, the program offers dozens of easy-to-follow suggestions from behavioral health experts and tips on sustaining the advice.

The Live Your Life Well(SM) program details the 10 tools and many of their benefits, including:

  • Connect with Others. Research suggests that people who feel connected are happier and healthier -- and may even live longer.
  • Stay Positive. People who regularly focus on the positive in their lives are less upset by painful memories.
  • Get Physically Active. Exercise relieves tense muscles, improves mood and sleep, and increases energy and strength.
  • Help Others. Research suggests that those who consistently help other people experience less depression, greater calm and fewer pains.
  • Get Enough Rest. People who don't get enough sleep face a number of possible health risks, including weight gain, decreased memory, impaired driving and heart problems.
  • Create Joy and Satisfaction. Positive emotions can boost a person's ability to bounce back from stress.
  • Eat Well. Eating healthy food and regular meals can increase energy, lower the risk of developing certain diseases and influence mood.
  • Take Care of Your Spirit. People who have strong spiritual lives may be healthier and live longer. Spirituality seems to cut the stress that can contribute to disease.
  • Deal Better with Hard Times. People who get support, problem-solve or focus on the positives in their lives are likely to handle tough times better.
  • Get Professional Help if You Need It. If the problems in life are stopping a person from functioning well or feeling good, professional help can make a big difference.

"Just as Americans have learned there are things they can do to reduce their risk of heart disease and other illnesses, Mental Health America wants to help people learn what they can do both to protect their mental health in tough times and also to improve their mental well-being throughout their lives," explained Shern.

The campaign is being launched for Mental Health Month in May. More details on each of the tools are available on the campaign Web site, which is free to the public at www.LiveYourLifeWell.org. More information and help locating mental health resources, including mental health professionals, is available through Mental Health America and its affiliates across the country by contacting their Resource Center at www.mentalhealthamerica.net.

Celebrating 100 years of mental health education and advocacy, Mental Health America is the country's leading nonprofit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives. With our more than 300 affiliates nationwide, we represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation -- every day and in times of crisis. In 2009, we are marking a century of achievement with a year-long Centennial Observance: "Celebrating the Legacy. Forging the Future."


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SOURCE Mental Health America
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