Otter Tail County is part of a national upward trend in making mental wellbeing is a top health priority, the county says in a news release.

In a recent community assessment, residents of Otter Tail County identified mental health as a top health priority due to increasing rates of depression, death by suicide rates, and lack of social connections. In Minnesota, the percentage of adults and adolescents who report mental health concerns has increased every year.

Mental wellbeing is the social, emotional, or spiritual values, identified by individuals or communities, that promote flourishing during good or bad times. It is realizing ones own abilities, managing day to day stresses of life, and contributing to their family, friends, and community. Mental wellbeing has many different qualities. It can include having positive emotions, a purpose in life, a sense of self-worth, positive relationships, or feeling happy and satisfied with life.

The goal of prioritizing mental wellbeing is to improve community resilience. Resilience is the ability to manage difficult situations, respond to difficult situations in healthy ways, and maintain good emotional health. When the community manages and responds to difficult situations in healthy ways, everyone can rebound and grow as individuals, which in turn impacts the overall mental wellbeing of residents and their communities.

Simple practices such as kindness, gratitude, and social connections can improve resilience and have positive impacts on mental wellbeing. These practices have been shown to decrease depression, improve sleep, strengthen social ties, and lead to a more joyful life. Everyone can do activities related to each simple practice to improve wellbeing for themselves, their families, and their communities. Example activities include expressing gratitude to loved ones through text messages or mailed letters, showing kindness by doing a random act of kindness, video calling friends and family, or participating in “three good things” every day for two weeks.

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Additional mental wellbeing information is available on the Otter Tail County mental wellbeing page at ottertailcountymn.us/mental-wellbeing. The Minnesota Department of Health has also created many great resources for people related to promoting mental wellbeing. Please go to health.state.mn.us/communities/mentalhealth for additional resources and information.

Those needing immediate assistance or resources for a mental health concern can call the local Mobile Mental Health Crisis Response Team 24/7 at 1-800-223-4512 the National Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME or MN to 741741.