Mental Health Awareness Month 2023

8 Dimensions of Wellness Wheel

by Bill Deavel, Peer Support Coordinator

May 2, 2023

I have been able to be part of mental health awareness month for the past 7 years. It has been a learning experience for me. Why did I add SAMHSA 8 Dimensions of Wellness wheel? Glad you asked. I have, over the past couple of years, been homing in on specific dimension of wellness and working on the dimension for an entire year. Each of these dimensions plays a key role in my overall mental health. For me the one I am working on this year is Physical. I have allowed myself to be so consumed with the other dimensions that I put physical on the back burner thinking somehow was less important. Well, it has caught up to me. My physical health is now affecting my mental health. So, I have implemented small steps to address my physical health. I mention this piece of my life to you to give an example of the importance of whole health.

Mental health awareness month is a beginning point for all of us to work on our whole health which is why I put in the 8 Dimensions of Wellness wheel. I have put together a presentation for our realizing recovery webinar, which is at noon on May 17th.  Over the last two years, I have been able to be part of a community effort to bring awareness to mental health awareness month. This year our theme will be putting art and family as part of the theme “The Art of Mental Health-Family Wellness Fair 2023” and it has been a great experience to be apart of.

Let’s go back to 7 years ago so I can explain the evolution of me being apart of this month. At the time I was working for a Mental Health Center here in Butte as a peer support specialist. I had never been part of Mental Health Awareness Month; the day hall manager organized a walk for the peers at the organization. He had t-shirts made for all those that wanted to participate. He established a route that we would take around uptown Butte. He had art groups in the previous weeks to make signs and banners. This was my first experience being involved with this event. I was unsure how I felt about participating in this event, the self-stigma that I was feeling conflicted with the passion that I had for this movement. I chose to participate in the event. The banner, which was three feet wide and six feet long, was the engine for our walk, three of our peers held the banner as we walked through uptown Butte. The were people holding signs, oh the banner said "Stomp out the Stigma," the sign said "Honk to Stomp out the Stigma." We were all wearing green t-shirts that said "Stomp out the Stigma." I was able to get past my own self stigma, embrace the moment and be part of something bigger than myself. I was filled with humility and gratitude.

Mental Health Awareness Month has been a month to be able to reflect on my growth in recovery. And as I have mentioned in this article, I can continue to improve my mental health. I have been able to grow and gain new skills to help me deal with my mental health conditions. I now can empower others to face their own journey of mental health recovery. What a true blessing this has become. I would like to encourage all of you to step into your recovery and challenge yourself to grow, that is what mental health awareness month has done for me. Lets be proud of who we are and support ourselves and other on this journey called recovery.



Leave a Reply