2022 Mental Health Awareness Month

May 2, 2022

Mental health plays a big role in overall well-being. As we go through life we have both good and bad experiences. By balancing our experiences with the basics of mental health, we can incorporate positive habits as a way to support our own mental wellness and lead a healthy life.

Please join us through the month of May to honor Mental Health Awareness Month with weekly activities aimed to enhance your overall wellness.

Starting Monday, May 2, surveys will be available for the posted weekly activities, so bookmark the Mental Health Awareness Month page and come back each week for your opportunity to win great prizes! Prize winners will be selected at random. One entry per person, per week.  

Week 1, May 2-8: Starting to think about mental health – Focus on Food & Nutrition

What we will learn:

  • Factors that help build our mental health wellness
  • Eating Traditional Foods helps us grow mentally healthy and strong

Taking care of yourself is critical to increasing mental health and preventing poor mental health. Factors contributing to good mental health are nutrition, sleep, coping skills, support systems and more. Thinking about how we build mental health wellness is the first step to getting back to the basics.

Activity: Eat quality foods 

The quality of food we eat impacts our overall mental health. Eating nutritious traditional foods contributes to keeping your body, spirit and mind healthy. Traditional foods have nutrients like Vitamins B, D and Omega-3 fats that play important roles in brain function and immunity.

  • Vitamin B helps regulate brain chemicals and support immune health. Traditional foods high in Vitamin B are herring eggs, salmon, reindeer, whale meat and blubber and moose. Non-traditional foods high in Vitamin B are poultry, eggs, spinach, kale, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains.
  • Vitamin D is important for supporting mental health and immunity. Wintertime in Alaska can limit our natural Vitamin D source, sunshine! So it is important to gather traditional foods that offer Vitamin D like salmon, whale meat and blubber and seal oil. Non-traditional food sources that are high in Vitamin D include fortified milk, orange juice and breakfast cereals.
  • Omega-3 is a type of fat also essential to brain health by reducing inflammation and risk of heart disease. Traditional foods high in Omega-3 are salmon and trout. Non-traditional foods high in Omega-3 are mackerel, anchovies, sardines, walnuts or flax (or flaxseed oil), olive oil, fresh basil and dark green leafy vegetables.

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