May is Mental Health Awareness Month!
Mental health impacts every aspect of our lives. However, it has been heavily stigmatized in our society. Stigma can make people feel ashamed, afraid, or even embarrassed about their struggles, making it challenging for them to reach out for support when they need it. By promoting mental health awareness and taking care of our own mental health we can reduce the stigma.
In a world of pandemics, social media, and busy schedules, it is easy to feel like we are alone in our struggles, but the truth is that many people around the world are dealing with mental health issues every day. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that more than one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness. While there is still much work to be done to reduce the stigma and increase access to care, there is also hope.
Talk about it. It can be scary to open up and share our deepest feelings and struggles with others, but it is often the first step toward healing. Whether it is with a licensed professional, a trusted friend/family member, or a support group, finding someone to talk to can make all the difference.
Practice self-care. This can mean different things for different people. For me, it involves taking time to rest, engaging in activities that bring me joy, and being kind to myself when I am struggling. I recently came across the concept of incorporating “mini vacations” into your day. Whether it is going for a walk or grabbing a coffee, take time out of your day to do something that makes your light glow brighter!
Educate yourself about mental health. Education helps us reduce the stigma, advocate for change, recognize warning signs, and promote wellness. Many people may not recognize when they or a loved one is struggling, and education can increase early recognition and intervention. This includes information about common mental health, as well as warning signs and symptoms. My website has a Be Aware section that covers specific information about a variety of mental health disorders. I encourage you whenever you have the opportunity to learn more.
Finally, I want to emphasize that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. There is no shame in asking for support when we need it; reaching out for help can be one of the bravest things we can do. If you are struggling with your mental health, know that you are not alone. There is hope, there is help, and there is healing. You are loved, you are valuable, and you are worthy of the care and support you need to thrive.
I run a website dedicated to mental health awareness, so if you want to dive deeper in all things mental health feel free to visit: powerofokay.com.
Immediate danger: Call 911
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
LGBTQ+ The Trevor Project: Call (866) 488 7386 OR Text TREVOR to (202) 304 1200 (Thurs. & Fri. 1pm - 5pm PT)
Teen Line (12-19): National Poison Control Line: 1-800-222-1222
Depression Chat Rooms: CLICK HERE
The Hopeline - Relationships, Trauma, Sex, Mental Health, Addiction, & Self-Care (2pm-12am CT): CLICK HERE
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: CLICK HERE OR text TALK to 741741
LGBT National Help Center (chat hours vary): CLICK HERE OR Call 888-843-4564
Teen Line Message board: CLICK HERE OR (310) 855 4673 OR Text TEEN to 839863
Georgia Crisis & Access Line (GCAL): Call 1-800-715-4225
Founder of The Power of Okay & Emory University Student