As fall approaches and the weather gets colder, it can be more difficult to remain social with summer activities slowing down. Yet, support from social connections can make navigating mental health challenges less difficult. Mental health conditions and challenges are so common they impact millions of people in the United States every year. That’s why the first week of October is dedicated to raising awareness of mental illness and breaking down the stigma that is associated with it. This year, Mental Illness Awareness Week takes place October 2-October 8, 2022.
Navigating Life’s Seasons is Better Together
Social connections are a crucial part of preventing loneliness and isolation, especially during the colder months where daily connections can feel limited. According to a study on Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors, those who remain socially connected are more likely to live longer, remain independent, and have an overall higher quality of life.
There are many ways to prioritize mental health and remain connected as the weather gets colder:
- Stay in contact with friends and family. Try setting up a regular call to stay in touch with loved ones
- Volunteering allows you to meet others while making a meaningful difference in your community
- Join or start a book club
- Plan a weekly game night
Here are a few Hello4Health™ ideas to build connections and reduce isolation:
- Try these activities that can help build lasting connections with your peers. These activities range from virtual options for staying connected to those you cannot be physically near, to in person activities like sewing and games.
- Try connecting through sharing photos and stories. Photos are a great way to share experiences, stories, and memories that can both enrich and build relationships.
- As the weather gets colder and the holiday season nears, create a recipe exchange with others to learn more about their own unique family traditions and practices.
Well-Being Resources for All Ages
Did you know Allina Health offers mental health and wellness resources for individuals of all ages? You’re probably most familiar with Hello4Health™, which focuses on social connections for adults, but we’ve got two other initiatives for parents, kids or teens. Explore the resources and skill-building activities below.
Health Powered Kids focuses on youth ages 3-14 with lesson plans to help kids be active, keep clean, find balance and eat well.
Change to Chill focuses on youth ages 13-19 with resources to help teens become more aware of what is causing them stress and how to manage it.