Every year around this time, we honor Mental Health Awareness Month – a time when we take a moment to recognize the importance of mental health and its profound ability to impact our daily existence. This May, we are seizing the opportunity to raise awareness, reduce the stigma, and encourage people to make their mental health as important as their physical health.
Unsurprisingly, considering the tremendous upheaval of recent years, lots of people aren’t doing so well.
Why Is Mental Health Important?
Mental health afflictions are far more common than most realize.
In the United States, nearly 20%—or 43.8 million people—have experienced some form of mental illness, including conditions such as anxiety, schizophrenia, substance abuse, eating, mood, and personality disorders. When left untreated, the results can be catastrophic—untreated mental illness increases the risk of homelessness, substance use disorders, legal issues, and suicide.
As prominent research shows, the stigma around mental health can be deadly.
It can prevent people from seeking the help and support they need, leading to dire outcomes. Today more than ever, there are countless qualified therapists and clinicians to offer solutions and support. Being willing to prioritize mental health can seem like a risky game in the modern world, but ultimately proves necessary for long-term wellness – your career and relationships will be all the better for it.
At Scottsdale Providence, we are committed to helping reduce the stigma, raising awareness, and offering support to those facing mental health issues. We believe it is critical for people to know they are not alone and that it’s ok to not be ok. We believe that with the right support, resources, and community, healing can happen and people can find the care they need to flourish.
Here are four ways you can honor mental health awareness month this May:
Practice Self Care
Self-care for your mental health comes in many forms. But just to be clear – it is about way more than just hot baths or buying something nice for yourself. True self-care is about finding ways to recharge and take care of yourself – mind, body, and spirit.
Some days self-care might indeed look like a hot bath after a stressful day, but other times it might mean reaching out to a therapist or counselor, eating healthfully, or doing some laundry. Like mental health care, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to self-care. The trick is to be honest with yourself and tune in to what you really need to thrive on a given day.
Not always the most obvious choice when we feel bad, but taking some time to be helpful to others can offer a quick antidote to anxiety and depression. Research has shown that helping others can significantly boost feelings of wellbeing.
Other people are often struggling as much as you are, and there are countless opportunities to be helpful. Calling to see how someone else is doing is easy, quick, and free. Helping an elderly neighbor get groceries or run an errand can also be invaluable. Many people are finding a renewed sense of purpose and community by volunteering at local food banks. If you can’t think of anything to do, a quick search online will probably yield some good suggestions.
Reduce the Stigma
One way to directly influence the stigma surrounding mental health is to begin to talk openly about it. Often, as a culture, it’s a topic we avoid or evade. Usually, this isn’t driven by bad intentions, but more from just not knowing what to say or how to say it. For those experiencing mental health issues, finding a few safe and trusted confidants can be a good place to start a dialogue.
While you may not find everyone sympathetic or helpful, a few allies can go a long way. And for everyone else, being a good listener can offer someone refuge and sanity. Approaching conversations with an attitude of curiosity, rather than judgment or solutions, can be a great starting point.
Ask for Help When You Need It
For those with serious, ongoing mental health issues, getting outside help will also be a critical component to getting back on track. Getting in touch with your care team, counselor, doctor, or therapist, and discussing your feelings and symptoms can be the first step in finding some peace. Letting people know what is going on with you can be lifesaving.
If you or someone you know needs help, we are here for you. Scottsdale Providence remains a safe space for those with mental health struggles. We offer primary mental health care in a luxurious, comfortable environment right here in Scottsdale.
We understand that mental illness does not respond to a “one size fits all” approach—which is why our program is designed to offer personalized treatment to address an individual’s unique needs. Our goal is for every client to experience a profound change through cutting-edge, evidence-based practices provided by an experienced, compassionate team.
We know that true change is possible and sustainable.
Questions? Reach out.