Mental health is something many of us keep close to our chests. It’s hard to discuss our innermost feelings with friends, family, and even anonymously on the internet. As this Month celebrates Mental Health Awareness, however, it offers an opportunity for those of us struggling to learn more about our mental health and discover safe places for us to discuss it and grow within ourselves.
If promoting healthy mentalities is something you struggle with or are unsure how to support the Mental Health Awareness movement, we have put together a few ways to do so. Our mental journeys are much our own, but sometimes sharing our worries and progress with those we trust is just what we need to help ourselves and others.
TALK OPENLY, IF YOU CAN
An excellent way to promote Mental Health Awareness is to promote your own relationship to mental health. This can be in private conversations with friends or family, or publicly on social media. Even for those of us struggling with the same mental illnesses, our symptoms can vary wildly. If we are open with our journeys, maybe someone else will feel comfortable enough to open up and share their own struggles and discoveries. Talking openly and being honest with our own mental health also helps us to grow and heal in our own ways as well.
BEGIN CONVERSATIONS OF MENTAL HEALTH YOUNG
Beginning the conversation of mental health can begin at a young age. It is important to discuss not only symptoms they experience but also how they can show empathy and understanding towards others who are diagnosed with mental illness. The earlier children understand mental health, the better they are equipped in moving forward in their own mental health journey.
KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE
This caters to those of us prone to speaking without thinking or those of us raised in past generations who utilized different terms and vernacular than what is used today. Knowing current terminology is a huge part of showing empathy and thoughtfulness towards anyone with any illness. For those of us who don’t struggle with mental illness, listening to those who do is a great way to help us better understand what we may not experience in our own lives.
LEARN SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
For the average Joe, this may not seem that important, but the more the general public understands mental illnesses the more we grow as a community. If a friend says they were recently diagnosed with Depression, taking the time to learn about their illness not only shows that you care about them, but also that you want to be there for them in their journey. The more we know about our own mental illnesses, as well as those we interact with, the more we can help our friends and family when they need it.
There are some truly amazing services that organizations, nonprofits, and companies provide in terms of mental illness, and supporting them helps them to continue their services. Here are some organizations you can donate to show support:
The Jed Foundation is an excellent source that helps promote suicide prevention.
The Tevor Project offers support and services to LGBTQ youth.
This is My Brave promotes stories of mental health.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation helps fund research to look for treatments and cures of mental illnesses.