World Mental Health Day is on October 10th of every year. In 1992, this date was established to raise awareness for mental health challenges and end the negative stigma. While many people live with varying mental health conditions, there’s still much to be done to create an understanding and accepting society. Let’s look into the importance of spreading awareness and what can be done to promote the mental well-being of ourselves and our loved ones:
Understanding the Stigma
You, or someone you know, has likely experienced or lives with a mental health ailment. While they occur in over 9% of American adults, more than 20% of teenagers experience depression alone. Many who live with mental health struggles may be met with backlash, judgment or misunderstanding of their behavior, making it an often difficult topic of conversation. For example, many young children may face criticism for seemingly erratic or disruptive behavior, only to be diagnosed with ADHD later on. In the same vein, a depressed person may be mistaken as someone antisocial or lazy.
These harmful stereotypes perpetuate shame and judgment, which only serve to isolate those affected. By learning more about mental health struggles and the behaviors that come with them, we can better support and validate the people in our lives who need it most.
Promoting Self-Care and Wellness
Self-love and care play important parts in mental well-being. By practicing self-care routines, you can create a sense of balance in your mental health in a way that leaves you feeling lighter and happier in the long run. Some of these practices include:
● Going for daily walks
● Taking needed breaks
● Vocalizing positive affirmations
● Meeting daily goals
While self-care isn’t always easy, it’s a rewarding effort that alleviates and reduces the intensity of symptoms brought on by mental health challenges. By actively promoting self-care, you can encourage yourself and the people around you to live in wellness.
Supporting Your Loved Ones
If you have a loved one who lives with mental health challenges, it’s always important to support and validate them. Provide them with a safe space to open up and be heard by withholding judgment and giving them your full attention. In some cases, your loved one may benefit from professional help in the form of counseling or therapy. Assure them that this isn’t a path they have to walk alone.
Here at the Center for Family Medicine, we can provide you with the resources to better understand and support your loved ones who live with mental health challenges. Contact us to learn more about World Mental Health Day and what you can do to further spread awareness.