Mental health can feel like a taboo topic. It can make you feel like nobody can relate or that you need to shove away your illness. Stigma can force you to act like you’re okay because it seems like everyone else around you is doing just fine.
But did you know that 1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by one or more mental and neurological disorders at some point in their lifetime? That’s almost 2 BILLION people. And that number is only rising.
May is Mental Health Month and it’s all about empowering others to open up about their mental health issues. It’s a good reason to ask loved ones about their mental health issues. And, most importantly, it’s a good reason to encourage people experiencing mental turmoil to get the help they need.
Mental Health is Physical Health
Mental health care is just as important as physical health care. Especially when you consider the fact that when your mind is experiencing turmoil, it can actually manifest itself physically. For example, you’d be quick to go to the doctor for our mysterious and persistent lower back pain. But lower back pain is also a symptom of anxiety, depression, and stress.
The Mind Body Connection
The most loving action you can take for yourself during Mental Health Month is to not be afraid or ashamed get help for your mental health issues. Or be there for a close friend or family member who wants to open up to you.
Here are some healthy ways you can open up about Mental Health to help yourself and others.
Use the power of technology
There are an abundance of apps and online tools available to help alleviate the harmful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are associated with mental health disorders.
Apps like Headspace and Buddhify are mindfulness and meditation apps that help increase compassion and joy into your life. There are also apps that focus on a specific disorder, such as Pacifica for anxiety and stress or CPT Coach for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Talk to a real-life human
One of the most basic needs we all have as humans is to feel seen and heard and to make a human connection.
Think of a close loved one who you trust more than anything. Plan to share the thoughts and behaviors you’ve been experiencing. Remember: they care about you, and because of this, they will take what you’re going through just as seriously as you do.
If you’re uncomfortable starting a conversation face-to-face or over the phone, you could start with a simple text. For example, “There are some really important things on my mind and I want to talk to you about them.” Opening up to them could even deepen your relationship and trust for each other.
Find Help at The Juniper Center
Of course, sometimes the thought of opening up to someone we know personally is too much to handle, which is why seeking help from a professional counselor like someone from The Juniper Center can be a great option. Therapy provides you with a confidential outlet. It also gives you a chance to work with someone who is trained to help you recover in a healthy way.
When talking about mental health, there is no “right” way to do it as long as no person or group is being marginalized or minimized. As we recognize the prejudice and discrimination that comes into play when discussing and revealing mental health issues, we can change how we talk about mental health.
This Mental Health Month, it’s time to go #stigmafree.