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Meditation, Mindfulness and Mental Health - National Women's Health Week 2023

Meditation, Mindfulness and Mental Health - National Women's Health Week 2023

Did you know that more than 1 in 5 women in the U. S. experienced a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, within the past year?  Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing and having good mental health is vital to your overall health.

  • Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that can interfere with a person’s ability to work, study, eat, and enjoy life.
    • Depression can cause many symptoms, including sadness, but some individuals with depression do not feel sadness at all and may experience physical symptoms such as aches or pains, decreased energy and fatigue, changes in appetite or weight, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems.  
    • If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for more than two weeks, it could be depression.  
      • All women are unique and can experience depression and its symptoms differently.
    • Women can experience specific types of depression, including Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS); Perimenopausal depression, a depression that can occur during the menopause transition; Perinatal depression which can occur during or after pregnancy, and Postpartum depression (PPD) also referred to as “baby blues.”
    • If you have questions about symptoms and signs of depression, you should talk to your healthcare provider.  
    • If you or someone you know would like more information on depression, you can find out more at the following free and confidential 24/7 hotline support lines as well as additional resources and treatment information. 
      • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides information on mental health illnesses and links to resources.     
      • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a free, confidential 24/7 hotline 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.  
        • National Mental Health hotline:  1-800-662-HELP (4357)
      • The Office of Women’s Health (OWH) site contains info on women’s mental health issues along with government resources.
      • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides Mental Health Resources.  
  • Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, as many women worry about health, money, family, or other problems.  However, anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear.  
    • For women with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time and interfere with daily life, relationships, and career goals.  
    • Treatment may involve a combination of both psychotherapy and medication.  Talking with a mental health professional is the first step to finding the best treatment for you.  
    • Meditation is a well-known method to promote calmness, but now there is new evidence showing a meditation technique, called mindfulness, could be effective at managing anxiety disorders.  
    • Are you familiar with Mindfulness?  It is a meditation technique that teaches you how to focus solely on what is happening in that moment, without judgement, and can assist with tuning out negative anxieties you may be having problems with.  
    • Would you be interested in practicing mindfulness?  Being more mindful takes practice but there are many simple and free ways to get started that include deep breathing, stretches and exercises, and short walks.
    • The U.S. Surgeon General created a 5-part guided series of Mindfulness Tools designed to offer support during stressful times.  
    • Meditation and mindfulness should not replace or postpone seeing a healthcare provider about a medical condition.  Take charge of your health and talk to your healthcare provider about combining these methods into your care plan.  

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