WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY
The statistics are alarming. More than ever, people all over the globe need mental health services. And more and more people are not getting the help they need. The reasons for this vary—lack of services, uninsured or unable to pay, social or family stigma. The motto for World Mental Health Day 2020 is #MoveForMentalHealth—Let’s Invest (https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020). In this post, I ask all of us--what part can we play, however small it may seem, to de-stigmatize mental illness?
Talk, talk, talk
Sometimes, yes, talk is enough. I’m not saying to let the world know about your mental illness, or previous mental illness. That is a personal decision that has a lot of factors. However, if you are comfortable telling at least one person you trust, then that’s a start. If you aren’t ready to share your own story with people, you can still try to help someone else seek the support they need. And if you’re struggling silently, it might be time for you to seek help. Most, if not all, therapists offer a free 15-minute consultation, so you can get to know them before making a decision. There is absolutely no obligation. And, who knows, you might find someone you connect with, and they can help you.
Walk, walk, walk
Go to marchformentalhealth.com to register. The event will be livestreamed from October 9 through October 10th for 24 hours. Speakers will call on world leaders to invest more on mental health facilities, training, education, and support. So, get on those walking shoes, and add your profile photo to Facebook or Instagram (tag @gospeakyourmind). If you or a loved one is dealing with a mental illness, what better way to advocate and communicate your support?
Organize, organize, organize
Get creative! What does your family and/or group of friends need right now? Yes, these are challenging times, so we need innovative solutions. Do you need to get together with your group or family more often on Zoom or take walks in nature? Do you need to have a digital-free day to re-connect with each other and yourself? What about starting an exercise or meditation challenge? Or, what if you decided to take a yoga, kickboxing, painting, or scrapbooking class together? There is strength in numbers. Take a risk, take the lead, and see what happens.
Take care of yourself
What better way to promote mental health than showing people how you take care of yourself? When was the last time you were grateful for your strengths? When was the last time you stopped to appreciate yourself just as you are, with all your imperfections? If you’re overwhelmed, what can you reasonably give up? Take a deep breath. Smile even if you don’t feel like it. Walk in nature even though you’re tired. Treat yourself to something you truly enjoy. You deserve it. Your positive well-being can help someone else decide they are going to start their own wellness program.
Sometimes, all of this talk around mental health can trigger your emotions, thoughts, and memories. Please reach out to your therapist, loved ones, or a crisis line if you need help.