Away with the Stigma!
May is Mental Health Awareness month. So many people suffer from mental health yet so many people do not seek help for mental health. The stigma surrounding mental health unfortunately endures, but progress has been made in addressing the stigma and the barriers have started to slowly subside. As a society we fear what others will think about us- are we not strong or capable enough to overcome our difficulties? If a person has a fever or chest pain do they not seek medical help? Our feelings and emotions also need medical help at times. Feelings of depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and suicidal actions that result in loss of life just like a person suffering a heart attack. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month we urge you to celebrate by doing the following:
1. Take care of yourself. This can be accomplished in several ways. It can include eating a
healthy diet, exercising, getting outside for fresh air, voicing concerns over emotional
distress, and/or seeking professional help from a therapist for counseling or psychiatrist for medical treatment if you have been suffering from a mental health ailment.
2. Take care of loved ones. Look out for signs of mental health ailments in our family and
friends. Treat others kindly and be patient with them if they are struggling. Also,
encourage them in their daily lives as well as encourage them to seek help and offer
support to them if they are struggling.
3. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to speak up and advocate for mental health. It is something
that so many people in our lives struggle with. For decades there has been so many
people struggling and embarrassed by mental health yet people will tell you about a
blood pressure diabetes medicine that they take. You will never know that a conversation
that you may have with someone could end up being the catalyst for them to seek help.
The life that you improve through your actions might be one of a family member.
So during the month of May we try to increase the awareness to the public about mental health.
People who suffer from mental health ailments are our siblings, parents, children, coworkers, and neighbors. So many people suffer with mental health and you might as well. While May is mental health awareness month, let's take this time to promote that it is acceptable and encouraged to seek help. However, let's not limit the awareness to one month a year. Lets promote it throughout the year and try to end the stigma that people correlate with mental health. The life you improve or even save could be one of the most important people in your life or even your own.
Quinn Walkley, PMHNP-BC
LifeSpring Behavioral Health