Hello May! Hello You!
Although I think mental health discussions should occur all year, I am happy that May provides a reminder that our mental health is deserving of care, compassion, and healing. It is a time to raise awareness and to decrease the stigma surrounding mental illness, and you may be wondering what that means for you.
While Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed since 1949, it is even more important now to recognize that our mental health directly impacts our overall well-being.. Therefore, we must care for our minds just as much as we care for our bodies. Here are 5 ways you can increase mental health awareness in your community.
#1 Educate yourself. It is not uncommon to use terms and phrases that are related to mental health to describe one’s self and others in jest. Learn more about different mental health conditions and share that information with others in your community. Mental health is inclusive of us all and misconceptions about mental health often leave people suffering in silence with untreated conditions.
#2 Start the conversation. When we keep an open dialogue about mental health, we are challenging assumptions and supporting others living with mental health conditions. Acknowledge the elephant in the room and let someone know you recognize they are going through a difficult time. Maximize your social media with advocacy and resources that will also increase accessibility for those who feel alone and do not know where to start. Lastly, talk with your employer to prioritize boundaries and self-care and to prevent burnout.
#3 Share your experience. Mental health matters everyday of the month, but using this month to help spread more awareness and reduce stigma in your community can help reach people who still feel alone; so raise the volume on real talk about mental health and support.
#4 Encourage equality in mental health physical health. Did you know that mental health and physical health are directly related? Everything we think, feel, and do affects our overall well-being. Mental illness can make you lose/gain weight, cause sleep problems, cause stomach problems, result in panic/anxiety attacks, and result in memory loss. Taking care of your mind is equally as important as taking care of your body.
#5 Normalize talking with a mental health professional. Whether you or someone you know is struggling with mental health concerns, is it okay to seek treatment. While our friends and family may be supportive and invested in our well-being, they are not therapists. Let's normalize mental health screenings and therapeutic relationships.
Mental health is such an enormous topic to discuss, you may want to sit with a trained and licensed mental health professional to create a safe space to talk. Call 424-522-8808 or click here to schedule an appointment.
You may also find additional resources at the links below.