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Editor's Note:  "Borderlines," BAMHS' periodic column, provides ideas and suggestions for healthy living, better family life and successful strategies for coping with life's challenges. Our newsletter is updated frequently! Check back often.
Tips for improving your family’s mental health
Posted: April 21, 2010
Last Updated: April 21, 2010

Creating a healthy environment for you and your family is easy, but you shouldn’t forget to address your family’s mental health too. Regardless of who or how many people your family is comprised of there are endless ways to achieve positive family bonding which helps relieve stress. Spending positive time with your family creates what psychologists call “family resiliency,” which the National Network of Family Resiliency defines as the ability to bounce back from stress and crisis by displaying optimism, resourcefulness, and determination with positive support systems and creative problem solving.


Below are some ideas to help build resiliency and promote positive mental health in your family:

·         Eat dinner together – Gathering together at a family meal is one of the simplest and best ways to build family unity and promote positive interactions within your family. Turn off the TV and cell phones to get a chance to get to know one another all over again.

·         Get some exercise- Walking together is great, but try having a family day at the park to shoot some hoops, toss a ball around or play a game of tag. Exercise lowers stress levels and the interaction together as a family can create memories to last a lifetime.

·         Go on an excursion – You don’t have to go to foreign or exotic lands to have a good time with your family. How long has it been since you went to the local museum or visited a historic site? Right in your hometown there are dozens of sights to see. Get out and take a look together as a family.

·         Watch a movie – Pick up a good family film, make some popcorn, then sit back and relax. Remember to discuss the movie afterwards, so you can learn new things from each other’s different perspectives.

·         Get enough rest- Mental and physical health go hand in hand and you can only be at the top of your game when you’ve had plenty of rest. Make certain your family members get seven to eight hours of sleep each night and more sleep is recommended for children, especially teens!

·         Get some healthy snacks – Encourage healthy eating habits and substitute carrots, raisins, fruit juice and water for junk food and soda in your home. It lowers blood sugar and helps keep the body and mind fit.

·         Read a book together – Reading a good book can be one of the simple pleasures of life and a great way to exercise your mind. Select something the whole family can enjoy and read a portion of it aloud each night. Think about taking turns at reading to build reading skills.

If you need more ideas on how to keep your family mentally healthy, consider contacting Border Area Mental Health Services. To reach Border Area Mental Health Services in Grant and Hidalgo Counties, call 388-4412; in Catron County, call 533-6649 for referral; in Luna County, call 546-2174.  For CRISIS, call 538-3488 or outside Silver City, call 1-800-426-0997.

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© 2008 by Border Area Mental Health Services and Putting the Web to Work. Front-page photo copyright by Bob Pelham, Pinos Altos Cabins, and used by permission. All rights reserved. For the privacy and comfort of our clients and staff, the photographs used in this site are representative and do not show specific individuals associated with BAMHS.