One in five people globally identifies with experiencing mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, bipolar and panic issues. As a way to bring greater awareness to these challenges that so many of us face, Mental Health Awareness Month was created.
Millions of American’s lives are impacted daily by mental health conditions. Participating in a local or national NAMI event is a great way for you to help increase people’s understanding of the complexity of mental health challenges. These events can help expel myths, educate the public, and show support for the many people affected by mental health issues who are working to improve their lives.
What are the ways you can participate in Mental Health Awareness Month?
Start with Yourself
The best and most direct way to partake in Mental Health Awareness Month is to start with your own mindset. This means practicing healthy self-image and taking the time to look inward and support yourself first. I recommend using this month as a 31-day challenge to be kind to yourself and not judge the experiences or challenges you are facing. This practice can take many forms, and it’s really up to you to try and experiment with healthy habits that work for you. For some this means keeping a daily journal to document thoughts and goals for that day in a non-judgemental way—just waking up and writing down the first things that come to mind.
Show Compassion to Others
Being more aware of what others are experiencing and feeling around you is another great way to contribute to Mental Health Awareness Month. Be conscious of what others might be experiencing—whether it’s depression, anxiety, bipolar, panic attacks, etc.—by making a choice to be a little kinder and more patent with others. We often tend to be very judgmental when it comes to others and can get caught in a web of critical analysis of why we would not do things the way they are and how we would do things differently. I like to use this time as a small reminder to be more tolerant and more interested in others.
Another great way is to spend some time reading about the experiences of those with mental health challenges—or if you yourself are experiencing mental health issues, taking the time to educate yourself further about your diagnosis, or possibly seeking support or the next steps in finding a diagnosis.
Helping others face-to-face is a truly magical experience. It is very fulfilling to know that someone’s day or week is better because you have been a part of it. Using the Happy App is a great way to help others as well as seek support yourself; creating moments of suport is the entire reason the Happy community and app was created. There are also numerous in-person events during this month that you can participate in. Check out Mental Health America (http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may) for a great downloadable tool kit that can help you get involved.
There is no effort too small to make a difference in your own or someone else’s life. Happy is my effort to help promote community, conversations, and awareness around all of our mental health challenges.