Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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May 7, 2014

May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Mind Your Health

PIERRE, S.D. – “Mind Your Health” is this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness month during the month of May. Mental Health Awareness month began in 1949 as a way to raise awareness of mental health conditions and mental wellness.

The South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) is stressing the importance of good mental health as a key to overall health and wellness. Research shows that stress is closely linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. It also shows that people who feel depressed or chronically stressed may have a greater risk of physical illnesses.

“Mental health is the ability to cope with daily life and the challenges it brings,” said Lynne Valenti, Secretary of the Department of Social Services. “DSS partners with community mental health centers across the state to help individuals adopt healthy choices and steps to strengthen their mental health.”

During the month of May, please use these effective tools to mind your own health:

  • Build social support – Connect with family and friends to help decrease stress.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle – Exercising can help to prevent the onset or worsening of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.
  • Eat with your mental health in mind – Eat a variety of healthy foods and drink plenty of water.
  • Recognize the signs of stress - Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them.
  • Know when to reach out for help – Do not hesitate to seek professional help.

There are community mental health centers located across South Dakota that provide mental health services. For more information, go to: