Observing Mental Illness Awareness WeekLindsay Chambers
At any given time, millions of Americans are struggling with mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and PTSD. Mental Health America has designated Oct. 4-10 as Mental Illness Awareness Week – seven days dedicated to promoting action around major mental health conditions and the impact they can have on people’s lives. What are some ways you can observe Mental Illness Awareness Week 2020? Read on for ideas to get you started.
1. Speak up to End Stigma
If you have been living with a mental illness like anxiety or depression, you can help the people in your life get to know what these issues are like by talking about your experience. Since we often carry misconceptions and prejudices about things we don’t fully understand, you can do your part to eradicate stigma by putting a face on these conditions and being honest about how they’ve affected your life. Setting an example for those around you might encourage others to pursue counseling or another form of treatment.
2. Get a Mental Health Screening
Your doctor may have screened you for common health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes as part of a routine checkup. However, it’s much less typical for medical professionals to offer mental health screenings as a matter of course, despite everything we know about the interconnectedness of mental and physical well-being.
Many people don’t get therapy for their mental health conditions because they fail to recognize the warning signs. Though the results of a screening aren’t the same as receiving an official diagnosis, they can give you an excellent starting point to explore possible treatment options and talk with your doctor and loved ones about next steps.
3. Be a Friend and Mentor
Loneliness is a defining characteristic of many mental illnesses, which can further complicate the condition. Make a point of checking in frequently with family members, friends and co-workers and asking how they’re feeling. Listen without judging or interrupting, and offer to help whenever they need it. Some mental health issues can make even the most routine tasks feel like a monumental obstacle, so being a kind, compassionate person can go a long way, especially amid all the uncertainties the coronavirus pandemic has created.
4. Practice Self-Care
Self-care activities include any healthy hobbies that help you de-stress and relax. During Mental Illness Awareness Week, make time in each day to enjoy simple pleasures like taking a walk, drinking a cup of herbal tea, taking a bath or writing in a journal. You could also try a mentally challenging hobby like doing a crossword puzzle or learning a foreign language.
Getting the Help You Need to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Sadly, many people with mood disorders, anxiety, PTSD and other conditions that affect their mental well-being and quality of life never get the help they need to heal and manage these issues successfully. At Serene Behavioral Health, our highly trained mental health experts address mild, moderate and chronic psychological impairment with four levels of treatment. If you’re struggling with challenges, you’re not alone. Contact us anytime to speak to one of our professionals.