Mental Health Action Day: From Awareness to Action
May 18, 2022
Trauma can bring on a sense of helplessness and many other symptoms that hurt our hearts, minds, and bodies. We educate ourselves on diet changes to avoid diabetes -- we can also educate ourselves about mental illness, how to recognize triggers, and ways to nourish our mental wellbeing.
Mental Health Action Day - May 19th - is the perfect day to start important conversations in your community about mental health illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
Our mission at Respectful Ways is to inspire people to talk about their experiences, destigmatize mental health, and help galvanize this movement, now in its second year. Now is the time to invest in our mental health and the wellbeing of those we love.
Talk to your family and friends about mental health challenges. Showing vulnerability by telling your story may encourage others to look within.
Here are tips from the Mental Health Foundation for talking about mental health issues with others:
- Let others share as much or as little as they want to. Listening can be just as therapeutic as telling- enjoy moments of mutual trust and courage.
- When speaking with others about mental health, try keeping your questions open ended. Say "How are you feeling?" rather than "I can see you are feeling down". Try to keep your language supportive. Give the person time to answer and try not to grill them with too many questions.
- Talk about mental wellbeing with others! Share ways you de-stress or practice self-care because it may be helpful for others too.
- Repeat what others said back to them to show active listening and the utmost care.
- Never underestimate the power of asking for help. Seek a counselor with expertise in areas you are interested in exploring, and share your therapy-searching with others!
Some mental health techniques can be done in private.
Here are some to familiarize yourself with:
- Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects such as puzzles, listening to music, gardening, taking a dance lesson, writing, playing an instrument, or sketching.
- Take care of your body, as physical health can improve your mental health.
- Try a breathing exercise such as the “5-5-5 breathing technique”: breathe in 5 seconds in through your nose, hold for 5 seconds, and then release your breath for 5 seconds.
- Make plans with supportive family members and friends or seek out activities where you can meet new awesome people, such as a club, class or support group.
- Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else.
- Moving coping skills such as Tai Chi, exercising, taking a nature walk, and playing with your pet can be great stress reducers.
- Smile and see the humor in life. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.
- Quiet your mind with meditation, mindfulness and/or prayer.
Seeking help is one of the greatest signs of inner strength. It is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can manage mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives.
Remember: you are not alone, we're all in this together and help is available.
If you are having a crisis or serious thoughts of suicide, go to a hospital emergency room.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255 or text the crisis text line at 741741 to reach a live, trained crisis counselor.
Mental Health IS Health.
Respectful Ways offers social-emotional learning tools and curriculum for Grades PreK-2, 3-5, and 6-12. Interactive, digital modules teach compassion, perseverance, respect and responsibility. RW also hosts SEL trainings for school staff.