Contact Us

NAMI Minnesota
1919 University Ave. W., Suite 400
Saint Paul, MN 55104

phone: 651-645-2948
toll free: 1-888-NAMI-Helps
fax: 651-645-7379

email: namihelps@namimn.org

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"There is no health without mental health." - former Surgeon General David Satcher

NAMI Minnesota Wellness Series

NAMI Minnesota will be hosting a 4-part wellness series that will bring members of our community together to learn about how different areas of wellness influence mental health. Community members will have the opportunity to engage with others as they learn key strategies for improving mental health and wellness. These interactive workshops will be 90 minutes long and include discussion, advice from health experts, educational resources and more.

The series will occur on the third Thursdays of each month from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Rondo Community Library, 461 Dale St. N., in St. Paul.

Jan. 18: Sleep Health. To register, click here.
Feb. 15: Self-care & Mindfulness. To register, click here.
March 15: Physical Activity & Mindfulness. To register, click here.
April 19: Nutrition. To register, click here.

For more information contact: Cat Gangi at cgangi@namimn.org or Hayley Smith at hsmith@namimn.org.

The Role of Nutrition in Recovery

We often hear about the importance of nutrition for keeping our bodies strong and healthy, but did you know nutrition can play a role in recovery from mental illnesses?

Certain foods contain key ingredients, such as amino acids, that are essential for brain function. For example, depression is often associated with low levels of a natural chemical in the brain called serotonin. Foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid or building block for proteins, can improve symptoms of depression through restoring serotonin levels. Eggs, cheeses and nuts are all good sources of tryptophan. While nutrition is not a replacement for professional treatment, some foods or supplements may help reduce symptoms.

Many common diets call for restrictions on carbohydrates, but this can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health. Carbohydrates are important for both generating energy in the body and increasing the availability of tryptophan for serotonin production in the brain. Complex carbohydrates are the most beneficial and come from sources such as whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal and sweet potatoes.

Protein intake can also have an impact on mental health. We frequently associate protein with building muscles, but proteins are also important for creating many of the natural chemicals in the brain that affect mood and concentration. For example, proteins increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that plays a role in attention, motivation and concentration. A wide variety of foods have high levels of proteins including Greek yogurt, chicken and beans.

Recently, research has been conducted on the role omega-3 could play in recovery. Omega-3 is a fatty acid found in many types of fish, plants and nut oils. These fatty acids can improve mood and memory and are important for overall brain function as well. Several studies have also linked omega-3 fatty acids to decreased depression and anxiety.

While more research is certainly needed in this area, incorporating specific foods into your day can be a key step on the road to recovery. 

Social Wellness: We're Better Together

So often we focus on an individual’s physical health and disregard other health components that are essential to improving an individual’s overall quality of life. Social wellness is a crucial dimension of health and wellness that is often overlooked.

Through building a support system individuals are able to share their experiences, bring hope to others in recovery, and promote a sense of belonging within a community. Sometimes people isolate themselves from friends and family when they are facing a challenge. It is important to develop relationships with others to validate feelings and continue to move along the road to recovery.

Social wellness has the ability improve wellbeing and increase longevity. Researchers at Harvard University have investigated the biological and behavioral factors that contribute to the health benefits of building relationships. They discovered that developing connections with others “helps relieve harmful levels of stress, which can adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system.” Similar research also discovered that caring behaviors may release hormones to relieve stress.

Where Can You Find Social Support?
• Support Groups: connect with community members facing similar challenges
• Friends and Family: strengthen relationships with close friends and family members who want to support you.
• Online Resources: self-help options, professional resources, and information.