Mental health is not just something; it is an important part of each of us. So, I am writing this article regarding why we should exert extra effort to raise mental health awareness.
1. It clears up misconceptions.
Raising awareness is spreading knowledge – and that includes clarifying misconceptions about mental health like consulting a psychologist automatically means you have a mental disorder, or having a talk with the school counselor means you did a very awful thing. These misconceptions just make people with needs suppress their feelings.
2. It breaks the stigma.
Most people just go with the flow because they do not really know about a certain thing. But if people are aware, they could even help encourage others to learn. Stigma also creates these labels among people with mental illness. From there, it could cause bullying, and it may easily affect the victim.
3. It builds up empathy.
I believe each individual has a soft spot. And if a person understands something enough, empathy comes effortlessly. This empathy goes a long way, and it makes an individual more caring to the other.
4. It creates opportunities for betterment.
Awareness makes people think of ways to solve an issue, or at least make the situation better. There is always room for improvement and the first step towards achieving it is to be aware about what’s there to improve.
5. We need it.
Being aware and educated about mental health encourages us to take care of our own selves. In this way, we realize that more than anyone else, we should take care of ourselves first to be able to extend it to others.
Raising mental health awareness starts with ourselves, then to a friend or two until to the whole community. It creates a safer and better environment not just for our brothers and sisters who are mentally ill but for all of us. Imagine having a community giving the same respect, care, and love to each and every one. Mental health awareness is only step one, but it is also everything. Nothing else could follow if we skip it. We live in a world where it is now very convenient. Resources are readily available. Through searching pinterest for mental health infographics, or searching google for mental health articles, you will surely learn a lot. So what’s there to lose, right?
This latter part of the article, however, I dedicate to people who struggle every once in a while. I figured, why not share some tips on how to handle and cope with the pain during breakdowns. There are times when it is so hard to tell someone about how you feel because a) you don’t want to bother them, b) you can’t explain how you feel and/or c) both. So for people who prefer not telling anyone, maybe these tips could help:
1. Cry. Most people try not to cry because they think it makes them weak. Well, when did fighting battles and surviving each day become weak? Contrary to what people think, crying actually creates a way for you to be strong again. It allows you to pour out what you feel even without saying a word. Crying is a relief, and you know that. It makes you feel better. So don’t resist the urge to do so.
2. Write. To a certain person, to God, to yourself, or to no one- just plain random thoughts out of what you currently feel. It is indeed an outlet. Who cares if you can’t produce the most poetic words and translate what you feel to the most convincing way? It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you have a pen and paper to write about how you feel. It could be as easy as writing “I am sad.” repeatedly in a whole bond paper. After you write, you have the option to crumple it then throw it, or keep it. It’s up to you.
3. Drink water. A sip of ice cold water feels really good. At times, it may even feel like a sip of victory. Go. Drink a glass of water and free your mind.
4. Sleep. It feels heavy, and it feels like you have just come from a war. So have the rest you need. Surround yourself with pillows, find that comfortable sleeping position and rest. Hey, you deserve that.
5. Stay strong and alive. Hopefully, you are feeling a lot better by now after you did steps 1 to 4. Now, no matter how much tears you’ve cried, how many papers you’ve spent on writing, how much water you’ve consumed and how long you’ve slept, the most important thing is that after your breakdown and minutes or hours of fighting your demons, you allow yourself to stay strong and alive.
Know that it is totally okay to be vulnerable. It makes you human. But more than anything else, know that life is beautiful, and you deserve to experience that beauty in your life. The thing is, you don’t have to fight life all the time. It doesn’t always go against you anyway. Perspective goes a long way, and I know you are capable of that power to see the good and kindness in things – most importantly in yourself. Take care of your mental health! I believe in you, and you should believe in yourself too.