4 Takeaways From Mental Health Awareness Month

By: Amanda J. Baker*

Let’s own it, the month of May has been traumatic.  On top of living through a global pandemic, we have been faced with rising inflation costs, an ongoing war in Ukraine, and two mass shootings.

My morning ritual consists of sipping hot lemon water, going for a walk, then listening to news briefs before starting my workday.  Yet, for the past two days, I have intentionally skipped the news because  — although I value staying informed — prioritizing my mental wellness is essential.

 As May ends, here are 4 takeaways from Mental Health Awareness Month:

 

  1. We all have mental health

The state of your body is physical health.  The state of your mind is mental health.

Mental health is a spectrum of feelings and experiences.  Ask yourself and others “how are you doing?”  Responses can range from happy, angry, hopeless, to weird.  Any response is valid.

 

  1. You can help destigmatize mental illness

 Approximately 1 in 5 adults lives with a mental illness. 

Help destigmatize mental illness by sharing your personal experience with mental health, or helping someone with a mental illness.  Speaking candidly can inspire others to do the same and normalize mental health conversations.

 

  1. It’s ok to ask for help

 Be kind to yourself, and to others.

If you are unable to cope with a problem or are feeling disconnected from activities, ask for help.  If a friend or family member displays signs of a mental illness, encourage them to seek help.  Professional, confidential support is available and can help relieve feelings of isolation.

  

  1. Prioritize your own mental health

 Love yourself.

Self-care is prioritizing your own mental health. Take a long walk, purchase a meditation app, and splurge on Taupe Coat nail polish.  You deserve to live a healthy, fulfilling life.

 

With each tiny step, together, we can live in a society where mental health is valued and people can freely seek treatment for mental illnesses without judgement.

 

*Amanda J. Baker is a health attorney and blogger in the Washington, DC area.  She is passionate about celebrating the diversity of the human experience through sincere storytelling.