To end the stigma attached to mental illness, we must talk more about mental health and share tools to help one another throughout this crazy journey.
Reflecting on this last year, we saw the most isolating period possible. Throughout the pandemic, we were confined into one space for weeks and even months on end. I think we can all agree that mental health-wise, extremely hard was an understatement. Because of the pandemic, have heard many speak out with their feelings of frustration, sorrow, depression, loneliness, and lack of fulfillment. These are all things that can affect the way we act, cope, and how to reason with ourselves on getting through the more challenging chapters of life.
Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with mental illness. That means individuals in your network of close friends, family, and co-workers are experiencing this struggle. In most cases, you would never know:
- One in five adults experiences mental illness each year.One in twenty-five adults experiences serious mental illness each year.
- Depression is the number one leading cause of disability worldwide.
So, what can we do to help ourselves and others conquer mental health and hardships?
Find a friend that you can talk to about your thoughts, sharing feelings is a healthy way to deal with internal conflicts. There are people in your corner and knowing that you can confide in someone allows you to not feel alone. We are humans! We crave connection!
Be a friend that others are open to talk to by asking a simple question of how are you doing? Checking in with others to lend an ear can go a long way. Ask a friend to dinner, a virtual/facetime call to see and share a smile. You never know how much someone could need it.
Express gratitude to individuals in your life that bring you joy. This accomplishes two things of feeling grateful for the gifts in your life and lets another know that they are a gift in yours. Focusing on the positive relationships in our lives can help lift us and help us get through some of the hardest times.
Practice compassion as it is something that helps your own mental health. When we help others and practice compassion we feel good about ourselves and who we are, allowing us to carry a more positive mindset. We also need to realize that we do not know what others are going through in their lives, practicing compassion allows us to use kindness to others when they could need it most!
Pay attention to warning signs in either yourself or others to identify changes in attitude and behaviors. When this is noticed of yourself or of another speak up! Ask the question of how they are doing and what could you do to help!
All in all, mental health needs to be acknowledged and advocated for every day of the year, not just in May. Mental health awareness is an effort that doesn’t happen overnight, it is something that we will all have to continue working on as a society for years to come.
Check out these awesome resources below to learn more:
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
The Trevor Project is an American nonprofit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth. Through a toll-free telephone number, it operates The Trevor Lifeline, a confidential service that offers trained counselors.
The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) was established in 1991 within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). OWH coordinates women’s health efforts across HHS and addresses critical women’s health issues by informing and advancing policies, educating health care professionals and consumers, and supporting innovative programs.
The Jed Foundation is a non-profit organization that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults in the United States. JED partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems.
Some of the team sporting Candor green to show our support!
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