In 1949 Congress designated May as Mental Health Month. (That’s in addition to it being Skin Cancer Awareness Month!) Anyway, the purpose of the designation is to illustrate the importance of mental health issues to the overall health and well-being of American citizens.
The phrase “mental health” has a lot of stigma surrounding it, in fact when googling the definition of stigma it even uses mental disorders as an example: ‘A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person: “the stigma of mental disorder“; ‘ Niiiiiice…. NOT!
Touching upon the immediate areas of mental health people think of when hearing the phrase (depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, eating disorders, etc.) These are real issues that affect good people. They often sneak up on the individual and can have a dramatic affect on their lives. I’ve battled an eating disorder, I am currently taking an SSRI to help with depression. These are things that I previously would have looked at as personal failures in my life. Granted, I wouldn’t have judged others as being of less value for battling these same things, but in my perfectionist mind (which is actually another area of mental UNhealth) I was less of a person because I had these issues. Now I recognize that I’ve required a lot of strength to fight this battle… really FIGHT.
But mental health is something that everyone needs to be aware of, because everybody needs to nurture their mental health. The world we live in is constantly switched ON. We’ve got a steady stream of information and news and updates coming at us. People are so much more stressed now than ever before. Taking time to decompress is essential for our mental health.
How do we do this?
Date night with a significant other.
Time with friends.
Enjoying a nice meal.
Engaging in something creative.
Exploring a new hobby (or resurrecting a hobby you’ve shelved.)
Reading a book.
Playing with a pet.
And many other ways that are as individual as each and every one of us.
Sometimes we need the help from a professional to reclaim our mental health. Or sometimes our body chemicals are off and we need some kind of prescription to help. None of this makes us any less worthy of being loved and respected. Nor does it mean we should mock those who are in this position. Because truthfully, they are working hard to maintain themselves… meaning they are showing great love and appreciation for themselves.
The biggest things that need to happen are that people need to stop being afraid to talk about the topic AND insurance companies need to provide adequate coverage for these treatments. I wish I knew how to fix the insurance issue, but at least I can be open and honest about my own mental health battles and share that with others… in the hopes that even one person is helped.
Even if that one person is me…