What can you do for mental health month? May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and that means its time to focus on the other half of our personal selves that we neglect too often. As a society within America, we are undoubtedly focused on living a healthy lifestyle, but more often than not it is geared towards the physical aspects of our body. Eating healthy is absolutely a positive for the body as well, but we tend to overlook one area: our minds and mental wellbeing.
With approximately one in every five adults in the United States experiencing some type of mental illness each year (that’s around 44 million adults!), it is undoubtedly critical that we continue to focus on mental health as a priority in our lives. If you had a broken bone or a sore leg, would you ignore it if it continued to persist? In the same way, we need to take care of our minds in the best way possible, and not be afraid to seek out help when needed.
So with Mental Health Awareness Month in mind, what are some steps you can take towards improving your mental wellbeing?
Be Honest with Yourself
To know yourself is true wisdom, and it certainly rings true in our personal lives. When facing a mental health challenge, it is important to realize that we cannot always face these issues on our own, nor is it always the healthiest option. If you are aware that you are struggling with a mental or behavioral health issue, reach out for help. Whether it’s a friend, a co-worker, a close confidant or even a mental health specialist, now’s the time to be honest with yourself and get the help you truly need.
Help Fight Stigmas
Believe it or not, there are still mental health stigmas that exist in 2017. While there is no question that we have made tremendous strides in the realm of mental health awareness, care and fighting the various symptoms with new and scientifically-proven methods, we still experience pockets of stigmatization throughout the country. Sometimes it will be pride-based, where individuals don’t want to feel that they have a particular mental health issue bothering them, and other times it may be peer-pressure oriented. You may see examples of this at times in the workplace, and even in some aspects of the military. Everyone’s experience may differ, but ultimately it is up to you to battle against mental health stigmas every day.
It is easy to overlook our base needs at times, and our mental and physical health is no exception. Take the time this month, and for future months, to practice self-care in terms of your mental health. This could include investing in a mental health therapist, taking the time to start working out and exercising or even engaging in activities that bring you great joy and happiness! Nurturing your mind along with your body will go hand-in-hand, and you will likely experience many benefits from it down the road.
Ultimately, take some time to reflect this month on what mental health means to you, and how you can apply it in your every day life. Make sure to encourage others who may be struggling with a mental health challenge as well, and develop a network with others so that you can all help encourage each other towards healing and a life that is beneficial to yourself and others.