Every May “Mental Health Awareness Month” receives recognition. It raises awareness to mental health in all aspects. According to MentalHealth.gov, “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”
Wouldn’t it be wise to make every month about mental health awareness?
In the past year or so, our mental health took a toll thanks to a pandemic where people were forced to stay in and stay home from everything including work and school (in most cases). Stress became something a lot more people had to deal with due to factors that couldn’t be controlled. A few times, I’ve brought up dealing with stress and I had questions posed to me that resembled: what stress? what do you have to stress about? It’s as if stress wasn’t welcomed in my life. Yet, I’ve had to manage my mental health, physical health issues, financial struggles, and anything else that pulls at my life. Stress affects everyone at some time in their life; there’s no set rules on who’s allowed to have stress- whether or not they have a family of their own; if they’re dating or not; if they own a home, live in an apartment or are homeless; if they have a job or two or none, etc.
Not everyone had/has the ability to work on their mental health professionally due to access, cost, and other factors. I am one of the luckier people who had and continues to have access.
A stigma continues to surround mental health as well as mental illness and the completion or attempt of suicide. Suicide rates continue to be high along with depression and other mental illnesses, and yet people hesitate to talk about it. I admit that I only talk in detail to certain people about my mental health (outside of my health providers) and a few that I know I can confide in. It does get easier as I continue to learn, work through, and grow what all of me deals with. No one handles life issues like the next person so it’s important to speak to a professional who listens, encourages feedback, provides insight, guides you with strategies and makes you do your homework. I have such a person in my life; she’s definitely someone I can trust.
I am aware of my mental health daily.
I know people and places exist to assist with my mental health.
I know that seeing a therapist doesn’t mean I’m weak.
I know sometimes one requires meds with their treatment and that’s OK.
I know problems can’t always be worked out alone.
I know that asking for help gives me strength.
I know life won’t always be this way.
I know I can always reach out.