Focus on Mental Health: An interview with providers, Part 5

In our final segment, Dr. Bowden offers advice on how we can stay on top of our mental health
Dr. Bowden says it's important to be present, and have fun in our lives
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 8:01 AM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - This week we’ve aired full segments of an interview with two mental health providers.

We wanted you to hear directly from them. You’ve asked us throughout the year, to talk with them, to ask the questions. And so we did.

Dr. Jennifer Bowden and Dr. Kelley Mahar provided detailed information about mental health. What it is. How we seek help. What’s being done to address the shortage of resources in the u-p and the signs to look out for in our children.

In our final segment, what we can do every day in our lives to make mental health a priority. Habits and choices we can make right now.

Dr. Bowden: “The things that we do for a good overall physical wellness we should do for our mental health too. Good nutrition, a good sleep schedule, plenty of rest, regular routines which both of those things are really hard for teenagers in the summer and socialization. So, another thing that can be really helpful. Is having pleasant interactions with your family members. I know that sounds like an obvious thing, but sometimes we go so busy in our lives. Did you brush your teeth? Get to your sports? Did you do your homework? Especially during the year that sometimes we miss those interactions and it’s really important for families to have that good quality time together. For children, if they struggle in social skills or if they struggle in academics, that can be a risk factor for developing mental health problems. So, identifying those early and getting the resources to help them be successful in those areas is very important. And then, one big thing is before we can put the mask on the person next to us on the place, we gotta put it on ourselves. So, making sure that us as parents, as adults as caregivers are addressing our own mental health needs. Whether that be seeing medical treatment or just taking care of our ownselves is very important.:

Elizabeth Peterson: “And I think coming off the last couple of years that we’ve had, all of this is very heavy. Right? It’s heavy on parents. It’s heavy on kids. It’s heavy on grandparents. And everyone is worried about everyone and doing it right. You know, trying to change those things. I feel like the word grace is so important, and not just for other people but for ourselves. How do you find that when you want to do it right. You want to the hit the mark. And yet, you’re just so weighed down by it all, wondering if what you’re doing is even close.”

Dr. Bowden: “It’s such a fair question. Recognizing what we can do because we cannot control so much in life, and especially with our families, it feels so un-empowering when your child is suffering from mental health issues that we have to recognize that we’re not in control of that. But we can control some things in our lives, which is mostly what we choose to do and how we choose to react to things. I would also encourage people to try to have fun in life. Try to be present in the moment. Even if you can’t afford a vacation, just being present with your child for a game with the people in your home. For a conversation. A meal together. Not always being on our devices focused on what else is happening in the world, but kind of shutting everything out and using home as a place where you can recharge.”