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Mental Health Awareness Month



Dear Sanara Community,

 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time when people come together to raise awareness about mental health and the importance of taking care of our social-emotional well-being. This month provides an opportunity to destigmatize mental health and encourage individuals to seek help and support. Mental health is an essential component of our overall health and wellness, and yet it is often overlooked or neglected.

 

The number of new cases of mental illness have risen significantly in the last 5 years including in children and young adults. People who never thought they would have a mental health condition have found themselves struggling and being diagnosed. Unfortunately, the stigma that society has placed on mental illness continues to persist. It's no wonder that people living with mental illness don't feel comfortable mentioning it to anyone. Some who suspect they might be depressed or have anxiety don't even want to tell their family physician.

 

We can change that. We can each do our part to make sure no one feels that they are alone.

 

We can start by learning more about mental illness and what we can do to help stop the stigma. Here are a few suggestions to start:

 

Some ways we can support and advocate for our family and friends struggling with their mental health include:

    •    Express your concern in a gentle manner. Talking about mental health can be emotional. Don’t make any judgments and try to keep your loved one comfortable during the sensitive conversation.

    •    Be a good listener. Ask your loved one questions and listen carefully when they tell their story. Be present with them.

    •    Tell them you care about them. Letting your loved ones know you genuinely care about them, and their healing, can go a long way.

    •    Ask if you can find help. Many people may feel uncomfortable in taking the first step to find treatment. Having a friend and a support system can be very helpful during this process.

    •    Be aware of triggers. Individuals with behavioral health issues such as substance use disorders or anxiety may have certain triggers that impact their actions and emotions deeply. Being mindful of these triggers can support them during treatment. Ask the question, “what do you need from me.”

    •    Watch for behavioral changes. If your loved one is exhibiting signs of anxiety, depression, anger, lethargy, or social isolation, check up on them to see if they need help.

    •    Check in on them during recovery. Behavioral health treatment can take time, so it’s important to let your loved one know they have your support throughout their entire journey and that you are here for them.

 

Together, we can change the way society perceives and treats people with mental health conditions through education and understanding. We can also be there for our loved ones in a loving and supportive way.

 

One of my favorite videos on empathy is a short clip from Brene Brown. Please watch… Brene Brown Empathy

 

If you are struggling and feeling alone, there is help for you.

Whether you, or someone you know, have a chronic condition, or have never experienced symptoms of mental illness before now, delaying care can only exacerbate the condition. Find someone to talk to, ask for help, and remember that you are not alone.

 

If you don’t know where to start, call, email, or text me and I will help point you in the right direction.

415-717-0515

 

National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org

 

If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person, call 911 or your local emergency number.

 

With much love,

Allison

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