Atrium Health Mental Health

Employer Solutions | 7 months ago

Take Your Mental Health As Seriously As Your Physical Health

Learn how to make your mental health a priority with Karla Lever, PhD, a licensed clinical mental health counselor and director of the Employee Assistance Program at Atrium Health.

5 Tips to make your wellness a priority.

Check in with yourself. Speak up if you’re feeling spread too thin or need support.mental health quote

About 1 out of 5 Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health issue -- anxiety or depression, for example – in their lifetime. But some  experts say this number is likely far greater, especially amid the upheaval of life due to COVID-19 and growing financial concerns.


“These are diagnosable mental health issues that affect your life and get in the way of your ability to live, love and laugh,” says Karla Lever, PhD, a licensed clinical mental health counselor and director of the Employee Assistance Program at Atrium Health.


“When we distance ourselves physically, we also – for whatever reason – distance ourselves emotionally,” Dr. Lever says. “We're social beings, and even if you are the most introverted person on the planet, you still need other people.”


She offers advice to reset and help make mental wellness a priority:


pay attention

Pay attention to how you think about yourself and the world around you. We are often critical of ourselves and tend to repeat not-so-helpful thoughts in our head. “Some of these things can be extremely harmful,” says Dr. Lever. “Generally speaking, the more positive your thoughts are, the easier it is for your brain to create and release serotonin and dopamine, which make you happy and relaxed giving you the energy you need to do the things that will make you happier, like spending time with other people.”



mental health tips

Find your inner child and a hobby. As children, we can’t wait to grow up and do grown up things. The problem is, many of us grow up and become serious adults – too serious. We can squelch joy without even realizing it, which not only affects our own mental health, but also strains our most important relationships. “Hobbies are adult play, so find something you enjoy,” says Dr. Lever.



Move your body

Move your body to whatever extent you can every little bit counts. “Just getting outside and moving your body is helpful,” advises Dr. Lever. “Our bodies were designed to be in motion, not to sit like many of us do all day long.”



say no

Learn to say “no.” Dr. Lever says “no” is one of the most wonderful words in the English language. “We need to stop and figure out why it is we’re trying to do all these things. You don’t need to be all things for all people. Practice saying ‘no’ with a friend or therapist because when you really believe your ‘no’ is the right thing for everyone, people accept it.”



talkTalk with someone. Whether it’s through a referral from a friend, your primary care office or your Employee Assistance Program at work, it can be helpful to talk with a therapist about your worries and how to reprioritize. “Sometimes we get mentally stuck like a hamster on a wheel furiously getting nowhere. And all we need is just a little help to get bumped off the wheel,” says Dr. Lever.


Call or text 988 for the Mental Health Crisis Lifeline if you need mental health-related crisis support, or are worried about someone else.

If you or someone you know needs mental health care, you can call Atrium Health’s Behavioral Health Help Line at 704-444-2400. This resource is staffed 24/7 with licensed professionals.