2008 May is Mental Health Month: Stressed "Sandwich Generation" Mothers Must Care for Themselves
Contact: Sarah Jones, (703) 837-4787, email@example.com
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 8, 2008)-Today's mother often juggles full-time employment, household chores and parenting, but a growing number of women are taking on yet another responsibility-caring for an aging loved one. Next week, as Americans observe both Mother's Day and Mental Health Month, Mental Health America encourages mothers to take the Mental Health Connection Challenge by building their social support networks to help cope with the stress of their demanding lives.
Of the 22 million Americans caring for both children and parents or older relatives, nearly two-thirds are women. In a survey of "Sandwich Generation" mothers conducted by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), only 20 percent said they were "very happy," and almost 1 in 5 said it was directly due to the stress of caring for both parents and children.
While the demands of modern motherhood may seem overwhelming, it's important for these women to protect their own health. Mental Health America suggests five tips to help them cope:
- Get Connected with family and friends. Having fun, laughing and focusing on things other than your responsibilities helps you keep your emotional balance and makes you a much better caregiver.
- Use community resources, such as adult day services, meal or shopping services, and caregiver support groups to help lighten your workload.
- Talk to your supervisor at work about your caregiving responsibilities, so he or she knows what difficulties you may experience. Ask your human resources department for information on the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows up to 12 weeks a year unpaid leave for family caregivers who meet certain requirements.
- Ask for help when you need it. There will be times when you can't do everything that needs to be done, so call on friends and family members for help with different tasks.
- Do not drink excessively or use drugs to cope with the stress. If the feelings continue, talk to a trusted friend, relative, clergy or health professional.
"If someone feels overwhelmed, unable to cope and the stress is affecting how they function every day, it could be something more," David Shern, Ph.D., president & CEO of Mental Health America said. "They can't let those feelings go unchecked."
Mental Health America urges all mothers to take time this Mother's Day to consider these symptoms:
- Feeling angry, irritable or easily frustrated
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Change in eating habits
- Problems concentrating
- Feeling nervous or anxious
- Trouble sleeping
- Problems with memory
- Feeling burned out from work
- Feeling that you can't overcome difficulties in your life
- Having trouble functioning in your job or personal life
Mental Health America founded "May is Mental Health Month" 50 years ago to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental health for all. This year's theme -- "Get Connected" -- is focused on the important role social connectedness plays in maintaining and protecting mental health and wellness.
For more information on Mental Health Month, including tips for how to "Get Connected," please visit: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/may.
Mental Health America is the country's leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives. With our more than 320 affiliates nationwide, we represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation - everyday and in times of crisis.