Southwest Regional to host series on mental health issues

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WAYNESBURG – In recognition of mental health awareness month, Southwest Regional Medical Center is hosting a series of events designed to raise awareness and offer education about mental health issues. “Pathways to Wellness,” this year’s theme, calls attention to strategies and approaches that help all Americans achieve wellness and good mental and overall health.


“Wellness is essential to living a full and productive life,” said Dr. Richard Ajayi, a psychiatrist with the SRMC Center for Recovery and Wellness Inpatient Services. “We may have different ideas about what wellness means, but it involves a set of skills and strategies to prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness while promoting recovery and well-being. It’s about keeping healthy as well as getting healthy.”


Ajayi said everyone is at risk of stress given the demands of everyday life both at work and at home, but advised there are steps to maintain well-being and help everyone achieve wellness. These involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness and connections to family, friends and the community.


Jonathan Johnson, director of the SRMC Center for Recovery and Wellness Outpatient Center, explained wellness as more than absence of disease.


“It involves complete general, mental and social well-being. And mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. The fact is our overall well-being is tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health.”


“While conditions like depression are common – roughly 1 in 5 Americans have a mental health condition – they are extremely treatable,” Ajayi said.


The following seminars will be offered in the Guesman Room at Southwest Regional Medical Center.


• Change the Way You Feel – Monday from noon to 1:30 p.m., presented by Psychiatric Resource Partners


•Managing Anxiety and Stress – May 22 from noon to 1:30, presented by Jonathan Johnson


•Sleep! Does a Body Good – May 29 from noon to 1:30 p.m., presented by Richard Ajayi


All presentations are open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. To make a reservation, call 724-627-2412.


The SRMC Center for Recovery and Wellness Inpatient Services recently adopted this new name and also a new logo.The new logo incorporates a bell, which is symbolic of the mental health bell. During the early days of mental health treatment, asylums often restrained people who had mental illnesses with iron chains and shackles around their ankles and wrists. With better understanding and treatments, this cruel practice eventually stopped.


In the early 1950s, Mental Health America issued a call to asylums across the country for their discarded chains and shackles and melted down these inhumane bindings and recast them into a sign of hope: The Mental Health Bell.


The logo was selected to represent hope and freedom for those suffering from mental health. The SRMC Center for Recovery and Wellness Inpatient program is located within Southwest Regional Medical Center. For more information, call 724-627-2521.


The SRMC Center for Recovery and Wellness Outpatient program treats patients at 220 Greene Plaza in Waynesburg. It offers group, family and individual counseling. To make an appointment or for more information, call 724-627-2756.


In addition to Ajayi and Johnson, Dr. Geith Shahoud and Guilianna Mazza, a certified registered nurse practioner, also treat patients at both the inpatient and outpatient facilities.


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