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Our Commitment: Mental and Emotional Health

Our Commitment: Mental and Emotional Health

As important as your physical health is to us at Hattiesburg Clinic, just as important is your mental and emotional health. In fact, any health care provider will tell you that oftentimes your mental and emotional health can affect your physical health and vice versa.

For instance, there may be a circumstance in your life that is causing you significant stress to the point that it is affecting your sleep, appetite, etc. That, in turn, can have consequences for your physical health and overall well-being.

Stress management is a large part of mental and emotional health. While some stress can be beneficial at times in producing the motivation or energy to accomplish certain goals, excessive or ongoing stress can have negative impacts on your health.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), untreated chronic stress can result in serious health issues, such as muscle pain, high blood pressure, weakened immunity, heart disease, etc.

The APA recommends five healthy techniques that research has shown to reduce stress:

  1. Take a break from the stressor. Giving yourself permission to step away and allow time for yourself can provide a new perspective and help you feel less overwhelmed.
  2. A vast amount of research over the years has shown that exercise benefits the mind and body. A 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session during a stressful time can have an immediate effect that lasts hours.
  3. Smile and laugh. Your brain takes cues from your emotions and facial expressions. When you are stressed, it often comes through in the face. Therefore, laughter and smiling can help relieve the tension.
  4. Get social support. Call a friend, write a letter, visit with a beloved neighbor. Talk with someone you trust about your issues who you feel understands and validates you.
  5. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help relax and focus the mind and body. Research has shown that meditation can briefly reap immediate benefits while mindfulness can help you see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness.

Our commitment to you as a Hattiesburg Clinic patient is to help ensure your overall health is optimal and properly managed. That’s why at a typical office visit, someone on your health care team may ask you a variety of questions about different aspects of your health, including whether you’ve had feelings of sadness or depression.

We encourage you to discuss any mental or emotional struggles you may be facing that could be affecting your overall health. Your nurse or physician can also make a referral for you to see a mental health professional, if that is something both you and the health care provider feel is necessary.

There is no shame in having the flu or a cold, and there is no shame in having a mental illness.

The National Institute of Mental Health says one in six U.S. adults live with a mental illness. Unfortunately, only half of people with a mental illness receive treatment.

Mental illness comes in many different forms. Many people may not even realize they have a mental illness. Some common forms of mental illness include depression and anxiety.

If you feel like you need assistance improving your mental and emotional health, please talk with your primary care provider about options. If you do not have a primary care provider, call (601) 261-3518 and a member of our staff will help you find one.

Katie Townsend


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