Did you know that May is the official month for Mental Health Awareness? I didn’t! Some part of me must’ve had an inkling that this month was special, considering that I decided to start a mental health blog.
Mental Health Awareness month is exactly what it sounds like – a month to raise awareness about mental health. Mental health affects all of us in some way or another, which is why it’s vitally important that it gets the attention that it deserves. Raising awareness around mental illnesses, whatever they may be, also helps us to face and combat the stigma that mental health currently has. Whether you suffer from mental health yourself, or you have a friend or a family member that struggles, it’s important that you take action to do your part in raising awareness.
This month, I’m challenging myself to start raising awareness about mental health in general, and I’ve already started to do just that by starting this blog. So, here are a few ways how you could celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month this year.
Make Your Voice Heard
Start a conversation about mental health and the stigma that sufferers face. Whether you’re going out for a coffee with your friends, or you’re having a family movie night, try and start a conversation about mental health. Not only are you going to be able to share your thoughts and get your voice heard, but you’re also actively going to make others feel like they can openly share their experiences with you. Talking about mental health and not being afraid to share our stories is one of the first steps that we can take to combatting the stigma.
Throw Awareness Events
If you’re part of a club or an organisation, you can do your part by throwing awareness events. It doesn’t need to be anything big or fancy – you could simply plan a work place lunch outing – but you’re going to be making a difference by letting people know how important mental health is. If you’re part of an organisation, you could plan to host a get together, or you could even come up with a social media meet-up so that you can get in touch with people with similar experiences.
Fundraise For A Charity
There are so many good charities out there that focus on raising awareness for mental health, so why not help them out by fundraising a bit of money for them? Whether it be partaking in a marathon, a colour run, a bake-sale, a raffle, or anything else that you could possibly think of, you’re going to be able to be proud of the fact that you’re raising money for a very good cause. Fundraising for a mental health charity starts a conversation about what you’re doing and why, which is also going to help other people come up with their own ideas of how to help out too.
Start A Gratitude Journal
It’s really easy to forget what you’re thankful for, and, if you struggle with your mental health, then it’s also all too easy to think that there’s no point in reminding yourself of the good things in life. However, this negative mindset only breeds more negativity and upset. To keep track of the positive elements of your life, you could start a gratitude journal, or simply a gratitude bullet list. It doesn’t need to be anything dramatic – you could simply jot down a list on a scrap piece of paper, but it’s important that you keep reflecting on the list and turning back to it. If you do want to make it into a daily habit, try getting a journal and writing down something that you’re thankful for at the end of every day. Even if you’ve had a really bad time, there’s always something that’s a light in the dark, and writing it down will help you maintain a more positive perspective.
Share Your Experiences
Like starting a conversation about mental health, it’s also important to talk about personal experiences that you may have had. Whether it’s having a verbal conversation with a friend and unburdening yourself, or it’s sharing a post on Instagram for your many followers, it’s really important that we talk about what we’ve been through. Sharing your experiences is going to remind other people that they’re not alone and that they can talk about what they’ve been through as well. So many people are afraid to speak out in the fear of being misunderstood, so make a difference and start the conversation for them. Why not write a post for The Mighty?
Start A Mental Health Blog
You could even do what I did and start a mental health blog! It doesn’t need to be anything professional – there are so many free blogging sites that are available without having to commit to anything – but blogging can really be cathartic. It’s your own little platform to share your thoughts, feelings, and stories. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a mental health blog, either – it could just be a personal platform for you to ramble on, but incorporate talking about mental health in one way or another to raise more awareness.
Finally, the best way to celebrate Mental Health Awareness month is to take care of yourself! Like the old saying goes; ‘treat yo’self’. That doesn’t have to mean spending a load of money on a new outfit or throwing an extravagant party, it could be as simple as reading a good book or taking a hot bath. Just take some time for yourself and really pay attention to what makes you special. The most important thing about mental health is taking care of our own, so find what makes you smile and just try to do something nice for yourself, even if it’s difficult at times.