Mental Health Awareness
Just like a broken leg makes it difficult to move around, depression can make it difficult to get daily tasks done. Both situations effect a persons productivity and happiness, but a physical injury or illness is much easier to see and understand. A mental illness is difficult to see and therefore makes it much more difficult for others to recognize the symptoms and consequences of a mental illness or injury.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults experienced a mental illness in 2020. And, mental illnesses can contribute to physical illness: “People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions.”
Clearly, we need to address mental illness in order to prevent, or at least minimize, this ripple effect.
What Can We Do?
Talk about it! The more we can talk about mental health and educate ourselves and others, the more lives we will help. If you know the symptoms of a heart attack, you are more likely to seek help when you feel those symptoms. So, if you understand the symptoms of a mental illness, you are more likely to seek help for yourself or you will be more educated to notice symptoms in a loved one. You can start by talking to your friends and family and asking them how they are feeling. Then really listen to them. If they indicate that they are depressed or stressed out, let them know about resources that can help them. Sometimes, listening is what they need most.
Sometimes, a mental illness like depression doesn’t look like we might expect. It doesn’t always follow the Hollywood movie version of crying and laying in bed. Sometimes, it looks like trouble sleeping, irritability, loss of interest in hobbies, poor concentration, anxiety or guilt. Most illnesses do not get better when we ignore them. So, even though it might not be easy to reach out for help, it’s important to get the help and treatment you need.
As part of educating ourselves about mental health, we can make sure we pay attention to our own thoughts and feelings (emotional and physical).
This is where self-care is so important!
Try this simple art and journaling exercise:
- For 3 minutes write down all your thoughts - don’t censor yourself, just write.
- Underline and negative words or phrases that you want to reframe into a positive intention.
- On the open space of your paper, draw a line that loops and crosses over itself creating open spaces
- Write your positive words or phrases in these open spaces
- Color in the spaces while focusing on the positive words and phrases - focus on how the positive intention feels.
Connect with us:
The C.A.R.E. Program team would love to connect with you!