Mental health matters for everyone. Mental health is not the same thing as the absence of a mental illness. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Just like health doesn’t mean only the absence of disease, positive mental health doesn’t mean that people are always stress free and happy. Positive feelings alone aren’t enough (especially because there are some not-so-healthy ways to feel good). It means still being able to function when facing challenging times and knowing how to get support when you need it. You can also learn how to help others when needed.
We are encouraged to take care of our physical health before we feel sick. We may take advice to eat well, exercise, and try to get enough sleep to help maintain overall wellness. What if we took the same approach to mental health? Just as you may work to keep your body healthy, you can also work to keep your mind healthy.
One way to learn more about mental health is the Your Thoughts Matter: Navigating Mental Health 4-H project. Your Thoughts Matter is an advanced-level 4-H project designed for youth who are interested in learning more about mental health, why it is important to overall well-being, and steps that promote more positive understanding and action.
Topics in the Your Thoughts Matter project include:
- What is Mental Health?: What mental health means and its impact on those around us
- Mental Health Disorders: The difference among some common but serious mental health disorders
- Stigma: How society communicates about mental health in casual speech and in the media
- Self-Help and Resources: Self-help and becoming part of the solution
In this project, you will be prompted to complete all 10 activities and all the Talking It Over questions, take part in at least two learning experiences, become involved in at least two leadership/citizenship activities, and complete a project review.
Today’s Take-Away: You can listen to this short video for a project review. In this video, Luke Uhlenbrock, a 4-H member from Clermont County, gives an overview of the project and shares his thoughts about participating in the Your Thoughts Matter virtual SPIN Club last year.
This project book is currently available for download on the Stay-at-Home Projects page on the Ohio 4-H website. In addition, another virtual SPIN (Special Interest) Club will be offered later this year. We will share the dates when they become available.
You can also access other Mental Health Month resources on our Ohio 4-H webpage. Come back here for more information and ideas.
Yours in Health,
Theresa Ferrari, Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development