Mental Health Awareness Month is observed every May in the United States. It’s a time to recognize that our mental health is part of our overall health, fight stigmas surrounding mental health issues, learn about various issues and policies, and more. Whether or not you are personally dealing with a mental health issue, it is important to find ways to participate in Mental Health Awareness Month.
Here are four Mental Health Awareness Month tips so you can participate and support those around you.
Engage in Conversations About Mental Health with Loved Ones
In the past year or so, you’ve probably seen the saying “It’s okay to not be okay” on social media a lot. It’s a reminder that your feelings are valid and you should ask for help when you need it. Engaging in conversations about mental health will show you that you are not alone.
Talking about mental health when you or a loved one are not experiencing issues with it can reinforce the support system you have. It may be awkward at first, but opening that line of communication can really make a difference later when you or a loved one are struggling.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has some great tips on discussing your own mental health challenges with others. And, they mention that “simply talking to someone sympathetic can reduce your stress level and improve your mood.”
Start Healthy Habits to Support Your Mental Health
Starting healthy habits can help improve your mental health no matter how you’re feeling. Habits can be difficult to form; it takes time and effort. However, the longer you participate in them, the more benefits you’ll experience.
Healthy habits can include getting proper rest and sleep, eating healthy foods, moving your body, spending time outdoors, and practicing gratitude. Another important habit to consider is regularly spending time on your hobbies and the activities you enjoy doing. Consciously build in the time you need to practice that joy.
Start by logging your attempts and feelings around them in a bullet journal or an app on your phone. Not only will you be able to track the formation of these healthy habits, but you might also find ways to improve upon them.
Research Available Mental Health Resources
Stark County has an incredible variety of resources and organizations related to mental health. Mental Health Awareness Month is a great time to research the resources you may need now or in the future.
If you visit StarkHelpCentral.com, you can search for a specific topic related to your needs. Or, you can visit our dedicated page for mental health resources. We provide resource lists for various cities, such as Alliance, Canton, and Massillon, information and referrals, and links that go to additional relevant topics.
Take a moment to add a few of these resources to your phone, that way they’ll be easily accessible when you need them.
Share Crisis Hotlines for Someone in Need
Helping a friend get through a mental health crisis can be daunting. You may find yourself wanting to do everything for them and wishing you could “correct” the issue. It’s valiant in theory, but your friend most likely needs a mental health professional who can help them get on the right path to healing.
What you can do is share a crisis hotline with them—it’s like pointing them in the right direction, especially when they may need a little courage to ask for help. You can call or text a crisis hotline to speak with counselors and intake specialists. These people will offer free, confidential support at any time.
Crisis hotlines are another great resource to have stored in your phone so you can access them when necessary for a friend or someone in need.
Resources in Stark County for Mental Health
Like we said before, Stark County has many resources available for kids, teens, young adults, and parents. Find mental health resources and local organizations at StarkHelpCentral.com.