Since 1949, the month of May has been dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of mental health, and reducing the stigma of mental health issues. We exercise regularly to maintain our physical health, but many people don’t dedicate the same kind of attention to maintaining their mental health. Setting up a “mental health care program” may not be immediately intuitive, so we are offering a few suggestions which may be helpful in getting started.
Learn about Mental Health
While you may not be dealing with a mental health issue right now, a loved one might be; you may also find yourself addressing a mental health challenge in the future. Being prepared ahead of time may make it easier for you to make progress sooner. You can listen to mental-health oriented podcasts, read books about mental health, subscribe to mental health newsletters, and even take online mental health screenings. This may also be an ideal time to begin, or return to, therapy.
Start developing strong Self-Care Practices
While there are numerous definitions of “self care,” one that seems very accessible is: Anything we deliberately do (or refrain from doing) with our own wellbeing in mind. This may include beginning or returning to therapy. In addition, you can begin to establish appropriate boundaries, try meditation, consume news media thoughtfully, celebrate wins big and small, and any other self-care practices which fit your lifestyle and your personality.
Certainly taking the above steps is action, but there are other important ways you can take action to improve your mental health or that of others. If you have been or are dealing with mental health issues, share your story. You can do this with organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness; your story may help someone else who is struggling. You can donate to, or volunteer with, mental health organizations. Thoughtfully sharing mental health resources can also be an invaluable help. Additionally, you could get certified in mental health first aid, which can help you learn how to help others who might be in need of help while at the same time maintaining your own mental health.
Center for Emotional Health provides behavioral health services to patients ages 4 and up at our more than 40 offices in North Carolina and Florida.