Mental health is something we all have and need. Awareness of it is growing in leaps and bounds. But there remains a stigma attached to mental health issues that may prevent some people from recognizing them and/or getting the help they need.
Events like the recent Mental Health Week are helping to change that. By shining a light on the issues, it can motivate more of us to get a better understanding, find support or offer it, and help spread the word.
Here are just some of the National and International days, weeks and months (including dates for those still to come in 2019) that are helping to promote the conversation around mental health awareness and wellness.
- Psychology Month, February
- National Child and Youth Mental Health Day, May 7th
- Mental Health Week, first full week in May
- Brain Injury Awareness Month, June
- International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31st
- World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th
- Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 1st to 7th
- World Mental Health Day, October 10th
- National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, November
How to Help Yourself & Others All Year Round
Whether or not mental illness affects your life, you can use mental health awareness campaigns as a springboard to learn more and continue to bring mental health into the conversation. If you suffer from a mental illness, like depression or anxiety, try to use these times as motivation to take action and make some positive changes.
Everyone can benefit from better mental health. Here are a few suggestions for things you can do during mental awareness events to support your health and wellness, or to help others do so.
- Look After Your Physical Health – Be careful not to over do it, but use an event to start being more active. You can start by just getting up each morning, getting outside and taking a deep breath. If possible, do something you haven’t done in a while, like go for a swim, head out for a bike ride or just take a walk each night. Also try to eat healthy meals and snacks!
- Get Involved in Mental Health Awareness Initiatives – Having a purpose and making connections supports good mental health. You can make more people aware about an event on social media using event hashtags and links to event web pages. You can also attend live events to show your support and meet others who share your interest in mental health.
- Start a Journal – Journaling is linked to a number of mental health benefits. It can be a way for you to express your thoughts and talk about your feelings without worrying what others think. But just the idea of regularly contributing to a journal can stop you from even starting. So use a mental health awareness event as motivation to give it a try. You can start by documenting how you took part in the event. Get yourself a notebook and pen and keep them handy. Make time to write, even if it’s just a few minutes every couple of days. Don’t worry about the format, grammar or what you say. Just let the writing happen. If you’re stuck for something to say, try writing about what made you happy and/or sad, or something you were grateful for, or what you expect to do today.
- Educate Yourself About Mental Illness – Learning more about mental health can help you better understand and manage your condition or offer assistance to others. This is just one example, but CAMH (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) offers continuing education courses like Fundamentals of Mental Health. The course is open to anyone interested in learning about the fundamentals of mental health, including the signs and symptoms to look for, and treatment strategies.
While while mental health awareness events are valuable initiatives, they still may not appeal to you, help you learn to cope or motivate you to seek treatment. If you would like to talk to a mental health professional, please contact us here at BRCook Psychological Services and schedule an appointment.
I am a certified solution-focused therapist, and I integrate a number of theoretical orientations into my practice including cognitive-behavioural, humanistic, psychodynamic, reality focused therapy. In essence, my experience and style have been dynamically moved into an eclectic approach that best seems to fit the client and their personal needs.
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