It’s no secret: mental health plays a significant role in a person’s overall health and wellbeing. At Council on Aging, we are laser-focused on supporting the health and wellbeing of older adults. This includes mental health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 41 percent of adults have had an increase in mental health disorders since the start of COVID-19 pandemic.
In acknowledgement of May as Mental Health Awareness month, we asked a COA volunteer to share her story. Read on to hear thoughts from Yolonda Kelsor, retired educator and current volunteer with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Council on Aging.
Eighteen years ago, my 20-year teaching career was changed abruptly when I sustained a disability while working. While learning to live with my new disability, I found I was quite depressed and anxious and needed to adjust both physically and mentally.
Throughout my journey, which included support from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) after a dear friend suggested I call them, I became aware that there is no health without mental health. I began my ‘Journey to Joy’ which also inspired me to work on my overall wellness and led me to become a volunteer and coach with the Health and Wellness programs at Council on Aging.
I’m now fully aware that without taking proper care of myself, I truly couldn’t be there for anyone else. Having a plan that includes a balance of the mental, physical and spiritual parts of life goes a long way to ensuring that we are living our best lives! I want to leave a legacy of good self-care for my loved ones and those I interact with.
It’s tough…I know. Please know that you are not alone. Remember, age is just a number and with proper support and care, we can be our best. Our later years can be greater than our former ones.
Age doesn’t have to define us!
For more information about COA’s Health and Wellness Programs which include free workshops on chronic pain, diabetes, chronic disease and fall prevention, click here.
For more information about NAMI, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, click here.