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Open Mind presentation will focus on intertwining aspects of health

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BANGOR - Does shopping have anything to do with your mental health? What about multitasking? Acadia Nurse Manager Eric McKeown believes it does, and is speaking at a presentation on May 23 to discuss this and other aspects of mental and emotional health. The Open Mind community education presentation will be held at Acadia Hospital as part of national mental health month. The event is free and open to the public. 

'It's a passion of mine, focusing and looking at how health and wellness intertwine,' McKeown said. One of those aspects is financial health. 

'One of the things we are going to be looking at is emotional shopping,' McKeown said, 'which is shopping to soothe emotional needs. We'll be looking at some of the consequences and stress that can come with that.' McKeown says that physical health will also be discussed.

'It's about understanding how choices and how we feel about ourselves affect us,' he said. 'We want folks to capture the essence of genuine self-assessment for their physical health, as well as their emotional health.'

Eric McKeown has been the department manager for the child and adolescent department at Acadia for the past two years. He has spent the past 20 years as a traveling nurse. 

'I've seen all the little social pockets, from the hills in the north to the deserts of Arizona,' he said. 'And I've worked with every age group from as young as 4 or 5 all the way up though the older generations.' McKeown says that there is one theme that is always the same, however. 

'We don't value ourselves enough.'

All of the pictures used in McKeown's presentation were taken by him. 

'I've been taking pictures now for the past 14 or 15 years,' McKeown said. 'I like to focus on nature and the beauty around us, as well as take pictures of people in true life situations.' He says that he likes to create art that has a message. The pictures, he says, prompt him to speak about different issues. 

'I speak all the time without an outline. I believe that if you speak from the heart, you really don't need one.' 

McKeown says that photography helps him deal with stress in his own life. 

'A lot of my images have a very deep in the woods' feel,' McKeown said, 'So when the busyness of work starts to feel overwhelming, I can sort of explore the greater atmosphere and remember that there is this whole other world out there that is sort of untouched.' 

Balancing work and life, as well as multitasking, can lead to personal issues, McKeown believes. 

'In the past two decades, we have seen a significant increase in stress related illnesses. It's because we see all these supposedly successful people, and they are multitasking all the time. Well, when we start to do that, we start to lose what makes us feel relaxed.' 

McKeown believes that the presentation is a preventative step. 

'We want people to stay healthy,' he said. 'We want to catch the problem at the beginning. We want them to recognize the different aspects of being healthy, and know what resources are available to them.' 

McKeown says that the presentation will consist of an hour-long interactive slide show, and a half hour question and answer period. The resources available will look at everything from budgeting to evaluating relationships. 

'We want to incorporate real life situations,' he said.

If you would like to attend the presentation, call 973-5055 to reserve your materials. Open Minds will be held in the Penobscot room at Acadia on Thursday, May 23 from 5:00 to 6:30p.m. Light refreshments will be provided.  

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 13:39

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