May is recognized as mental health awareness month in the United States. While new research is informing our society about mental health, it remains impractical in many communities. Marginalized communities in the United States do not see how this research benefits them in their everyday lives. Mental Health Awareness is still needed but learning how to bring this awareness in the everyday is the next step. Changing our mindset about the way we talk and care about our mental health beyond today’s commercialized ‘ selfcare’ advertisements is crucial for a well-balanced and healthy perspective to wellbeing. Consider these top 5 ways to change your mindset about mental health.
#1. Mental health is health– In most industrialized countries with formal education, physical fitness is a requirement throughout a student’s life. The benefits and the components that make up our physical health is taught throughout primary and secondary education. However, mental health is not discussed until one’s last years of their high school journey such as psychology 101 or as an elective during freshman year of college; of course, if you had a chance to take those courses as a traditional college student.
Recognizing our welbeing is compromised as our physical, spiritual, and psychological health will begin to promote a balanced view of one’s self.
#2. Permission to feel– In the United States, the news and movies tend to be the informant of society. The way in which emotions are vilainized is cause for disturbance and chaos. There are communities and niche cultures that abstain from explicit expression of one’s feelings. When we are fearful of our emotions, regardless of which ones, we behave in ways that attempt to avoid them, run from them, block or suppress them in some form, through our actions.
Realizing the emotions are sensations that provide data and information is a step towards accepting emotions.
#3. We don’t live in a vacuum– It appears as though as time goes by people are attempting to find ways to isolate themselves. Not, discounting the trauma COVID-19 virus, brought to everyone in a global sense that forced people to physically distance and isolate. The current state of society appears to be separating itself by trying to stand out or in some cases extinguish its past.
Our actions produce something into this world, whether we are intentional or not, because it is inhabited by both living and non-living matter.
#4. Everyone has mental health– Consider this, 1 in 5 people suffer with a mental illness. However, the terms mental illness and having poor mental health is not interchangeable (CDC, 2021, reference). When someone is diagnosed with a mental illness, the severity of their symptoms impair every aspect of their lives in which additional and appropriate professionals are in place to assist in helping them function and redefining their normal. Based in the community and environment we live, how we think, act, and feel impacts our overall wellbeing. For example, observe you work, social, and family life to notice if your interactions and views are the same.
Poor mental health can be in imbalance in social, psychological, emotional, and behavioral aspects.
#5. Comparison is the thief of joy and contentment– It is obvious that most economies are ran by the input nad output model. In order to compete, the product must result in something that the last product did not. For many, this became the bases for their values making interpersonal relationships a commodity or transactional affair. Imagine employing compassion instead of comparison in our everyday lives. Accepting that maybe “ one size does not fit all” and “ everyone is struggling.”
A compassionate mind allows you to hold the thought that your struggles do not have to cancel out someelses struggles
Since starting my practice as a mental health counselor, I observe depression in children and adults becoming more elusive and surprisingly common. I found with the clients and research I encountered how close we all are to experiencing poor mental health or mental illness/disorder. If not situational but genetic or biochemistry, the lack of cultural awareness and distinction continues to misrepresent marginalized individuals in the United States. When friends and family notice signs of depression with loved ones, it is increasingly difficult to begin the conversation because their friends, family, or a colleague have exhibited these signs for a significant amount of time.