Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which means bringing attention and advocacy to the needs around mental health stigma and treatment in the United States.
Mental health is simply one’s emotional and psychological well-being. We all have different experiences and expectations around mental health, and at one point in life, everyone will experience mental health challenges. So what can you do, as a person who supports and sees the value in taking care of mental health?
Promoting and Supporting Mental Health Care
Monetary support- Did you know that there are multiple ways to provide financial aid to those who are seeking mental health support? Mutual aid is a great option and there are several mutual aid groups local to the Austin area. ATX Mental Health Fund (https://www.atxmentalhealthfund.com) provides direct cash assistance to increase accessibility to treatment and helped to provide FREE therapy sessions in the aftermath of our winter storm.
Advocate- Emailing your local and state representatives is a quick and simple way to make your voice heard and show support for increased accessibility to mental health support. There are ongoing decisions being made at city, county, and state levels that will determine how funding is allocated, and even how therapists and counselors are reimbursed by insurance companies to ensure ongoing care for all individuals.
Model- Do you wish more people were comfortable discussing mental health issues? Model it! Be an example for friends and family by talking about mental health issues in supportive and caring ways. A simple action is to model sharing emotions, setting healthy boundaries, or showing compassion when mental health issues are brought up.
Language- Reassess the language you use that is related to mental health issues. Have you used the term “OCD” to talk about being really organized or particular? OCD can be a debilitating disorder for some and using it incorrectly can cause harm to others. What about “bipolar”? Calling a person, or thing (such as weather) "bipolar" is also damaging as it is often a lifelong battle for many who are diagnosed.
Take Care of YOU- The only way you can truly advocate for mental health support around you is to be doing the work yourself. Seek support for your own mental health- that could be through counseling, group work, personal mediation, or partaking in weekly self-care.
Reach out for a free phone consultation or to schedule an appointment to focus on creating and maintaining optimal mental health. My practice focuses on treatment for anxiety, depression, relationship issues, grief and loss and life transitions.