Officially May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but that isn't nearly enough. We need to talk about mental health every single day. The stigma around admitting your struggles with mental health is improving, but there are still so many obstacles for our society to overcome. We need to normalize the talk around mental health. It's no secret that the lockdowns and isolation from COVID affected so many people, many of them children or young adults that don't fully have the coping skills to handle situations like we all experienced. Talking about mental health issues that arose from the past few years is very important. We can't just say that kids are resilient and they will be fine. There are so many kids and young adults that are suffering right now from lockdowns that happened years ago. (I do realize that adults struggle as well, but I'm just speaking generally about young people who don't have the understanding or ability to get the mental health care that they need)
If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, fear or another issue, a good place to start is with your doctor. Your GP has resources and will be happy to help connect you. There are mental health professionals in your community that you can reach out to directly (check with your insurance first to see if they cover mental health care just so there are no surprises). There are even virtual counselors that you can have zoom visits right from your own home. There are so many amazing books to read (go to your local library to get them for free!) that can give you a lot of comfort or even teach your how to manage your feelings better. There are countless podcasts that can be really uplifting and helpful.
If all of those resources don't seem manageable, you can reach out to a friend or family member who has a caring heart and the willingness to help. Perhaps a friend that will take a walk with you to talk through an issue is all you need to feel. heard. Maybe a conversation with a caring family member will give you a professional resource that you didn't know about before. Maybe some human touch will ground you and give you the hope you need to make it through one more day. What I'm saying is...you don't have to suffer alone.
I have a lot of experience with mental health struggles. Don't give up. I have my own struggles and many family and friends that have dealt with unimaginable pain. Don't give up. I have been through the system and have experienced waiting lists for doctors or treatment programs. Don't give up. I have held weeping family members who don't know what to do with their pain. Don't give up. I have spent countless hours on the phone trying to get services for a loved one. Don't give up. I have seen the worst outcomes there are...but I have also seen the breaking dawn of beauty emerge from those moments - love and empathy being shared, courage on display, weaknesses being turned into strengths, and real true human connection that we need so much. So Don't Give Up.
I'll link some resources below. I hope that if you struggle with your mental health, even if it's occasionally, you reach out to someone. You deserve it.
- 12 Best Mental Health Books