Let's Talk About Mental Health

Mental health has been a priority in my house since I was young. My mom would make sure my brother and I knew that mental health was equally important as our physical health and encouraged us to discuss topics openly. Today, I feel like it is harder than ever to take care of your mental health and social media has become a greater burden on our emotional and mental well being. Even though 1 out of 5 adults in the United States experience a mental illness in their lifetime, the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness is still prevalent. Because of that statistic, I want to discuss how you can break the stigma and begin a conversation about mental health. 

Here are 5 ways in which YOU can break the stigma: 

Let yourself be vulnerable. 

Take the time to talk to people about what you are going through, keeping in mind your feelings and what feels safe. The more you let people know what you are going through or what you have been through it is easier for them to relate and start a conversation. Do not feel pressure to be vulnerable if you do not feel comfortable, but if you get the chance do to so, it is a great way to start a much-needed conversation. 

Encourage people to get help, but do not pressure them into it. 

A lot of times people are not aware that what they are feeling is valid and that there are people trained to help them. When someone tells you what they are going through, encourage them to talk to someone. Do this but do not pressure them to do so. Some people do not feel comfortable getting help, but just letting them know that the option exists makes a difference.

Listen. 

Make sure that if someone comes to you, you listen. Do not rush to give advice or tell them what you think they should do, rather, give them space to talk about what they are going through. Do not judge their situation and make assumptions about what they are telling you, listen to what they say and thank them for letting you know. Doing so will create a space in which conversations about mental health are easy and nonjudgemental. 

Educate yourself. 

Learn as much as you can about mental health. Take the time to read about it, hear testimonies and understand what mental health is about. It is extremely important to stay educated. 

Educate others. 

It is important that people around you are aware that talking about mental health is important. Because of this make sure that you stop conversations that are stigmatizing mental illnesses and are silencing the experiences of others. Simple things like telling those in a conversation not to use certain terms can change  how people think about mental health and make them aware of what they are saying. 

 

With these 5 tips, I hope you start to make a change in your immediate community. I do not get tired of saying this: mental health is as important as physical health. Take the time to take care of yourself and do your best to start a conversation that is stronger than stigma. 

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