As May comes to a close, so does Mental Health Awareness Month, but my advocacy never ends. One of my goals for this blog and site is to have a platform outside of social media that I can share mental health tips and resources while also being an advocate. My primary goal is to share knowledge and factual information about mental health (because there are so many myths and misconceptions) and help reduce the stigma around seeking help, specifically, in the Black community. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been posting mental health information on my story all month long so you should have known a blog post was coming, LOL.
Below are a few of my takeaways from May’s Mental Health Awareness Month:
1. People are getting it. It’s clicking. People are talking more and more about mental health and I love it. I saw way more people than I did last year on my social media platforms sharing mental health tips all month long and that made me so happy. Conversations about going to therapy and mental illness are happening more frequently and becoming less taboo. Even though there's still progress to be made, that is evidence that we are doing the work that needs to be done.
For example: last week, the NFL and NFLPA announced a new initiative in which every team will be required to employ a mental health professional to work in its building. EVERY team, y'all. Whether you’re into sports or not, that is major.
2. Everyone may not have a mental illness but everyone has mental health.
Mentalhealth.gov defines mental health as:
“…our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”
3. You don’t always have to go to therapy or counseling because something is “wrong.”
4. Developing a self-care plan can improve your mental, emotional, and physical health. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive either. Self-care activities can range from going for a walk, exercising, getting a massage, unplugging from social media, eating a balanced meal, getting adequate sleep, and setting boundaries.
5. Mental illness does NOT discriminate. Anyone can have a mental illness regardless of age, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, race, ethnicity, career, etc.
I’ll leave y’all with one tip: if you have the resources and access to a mental health professional, whether that be a psychologist, counselor, therapist, or social worker, I’d suggest you visit them. I acknowledge my privilege in having the access and means to regularly see a therapist and am aware that everyone isn’t afforded that opportunity, but if you can, go. If you’re a college student or grad student reading this, you may have access to free or reduced cost services at your university counseling center. If you have insurance, contact your insurance company to see if mental health services are covered under your policy and find out which mental health providers accept your insurance. Therapy helps. Therapy can save lives. You matter. #MentalHealthMatters
Peace, love, and blessings,