Child abuse and neglect is a health and mental issue that affects us all.

Impaired brain development

Impacts on development of certain brain regions, potentially causing cognitive, language, and academic issues and increasing risk for mental health disorders (Tarullo, 2012) 

Reduced life expectancy

Increased risk of depression and suicide as well as a 20 year shorter life expectancy (Brown, 2009)

While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. The good news is there are practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency – and there are ways that everyone can be supportive of friends, family, and co-workers who are struggling with life’s challenges or their mental health.  

This May is Mental Health Month, EndCAN is highlighting #Tools2Thrive – what individuals can do daily to prioritize their mental health, build resiliency in the face of trauma and obstacles, support those who are struggling, and work towards a path of recovery.  

One of the easiest tools anyone can use is taking an anonymous mental health screening HERE when they need answers. It’s a quick, free, and private way for people to assess their mental health and recognize signs of mental health problems.  

This May, we are also exploring topics that can help you build your own set of #Tools2Thrive – recognizing and owning your feelings; finding the positive after loss; connecting with others; eliminating toxic influences; creating healthy routines; and supporting others – all as ways to boost the mental health and general wellness of you and your loved ones.  

When it comes to your feelings, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. It’s ok to give yourself permission to feel.

It also is true that connections and the people around us can help our overall mental health – or hurt it. It’s important to make connections with other people that help enrich our lives and get us through tough times, but it’s equally important to recognize when certain people and situations in life can trigger us to feel bad or engage in destructive behaviors. Identifying the toxic influences in our lives and taking steps to create a new life without them can improve mental and physical health over time. And we know that work, paying bills, cleaning, getting enough sleep, and taking care of children are just some of the things we do each day – and it is easy to be overwhelmed. By creating routines, we can organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard about them.  

For each of us, the tools we use to keep us mentally healthy will be unique. But EndCAN wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. Finding what work for you may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes. Recognizing your feelings, finding the routines that lift you up, removing toxic influences and connecting with others can all help you on your path to recovery.

Remember, WE ARE ALL SURVIVORS because we are all affected by child abuse and you are never alone.

For immediate help and support please click here.

For more information about Mental Health Month and download your #Tools2Thirve toolkit please visit www.mhanational.org/may

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Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition and how to seek help.  

References & Sources:  

  1. Tarullo, A.  Effects of Maltreatment on the Development Brain. 2012.
  2. Brown, D.  Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Risk of Premature Mortality. 2009.