I’m always honored to be able to write these articles and share ideas and encouragement with you all. I’m especially excited to be sharing with you today, as October 10 is recognized as World Mental Health Day, and mental health is a huge part of what we are all about!
While every day should have some focus on mental health, this day is set aside each year as a day to remind society, from leadership of companies and policy makers to individuals like you and me, to invest in mental health. It’s a reminder that keeping ourselves healthy mentally and emotionally is just as important as eating right and being active. This day especially stands to bring attention to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people in our neighborhoods and families who are struggling with the things they feel and think to the point of being hopeless enough to kill themselves.
I want this article to be a mental health resource and so before I go any further here are some phone numbers for crisis lines in the US and elsewhere. I know that throwing a 1-800 number at something doesn’t make it better. I can’t just refer to a crisis line and feel like I’m contributing to the conversation around mental health, and yet I know the benefits of having someone to talk to in the middle of the night when things seem larger than life and you aren’t sure you can make it to the morning. If you need to talk and don’t think your friends will understand there are people who care about you and want to help you through whatever you’re up against.
US crisis phone line- 1-800-273-8255
US crisis text line- text HOME to 741741
UK crisis phone line- 116 123
UK crisis text line- text 85258
Other UK lines- HERE
Aus crisis line- 13 11 14 or 135 247
Along with raising awareness about the growing number of people struggling with depression, anxiety, and thoughts or actions of self-harm, this day is about mental health promotion. I love this phrase, as it makes up a huge part of my life goal. Promoting ideas and concepts that increase people’s mental health.
Here’s the UK Mental Health Foundation’s definition of good mental health:
- the ability to learn
- the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions
- the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others
- the ability to cope with and manage change and uncertainty
I read down that list and realize that there are days when I miss the mark of good mental health, sometimes by a lot. While that doesn’t mean that I necessarily have a mental health disorder that will require medication to alleviate or correct, it’s been a huge help for me to know that I can reach out for help, that it’s ok for me to feel like things in my life are beyond my control to manage and work around.
It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and need help. It’s ok to call your mom in the middle of the night because you are too overwhelmed to fall asleep. It’s ok to rant to your partner about your feelings even if you think they’re silly or think you’ll be a bother. And it’s ok to call someone else or a professional if you don’t find what you need or feel better.
Like I talked about a few weeks ago, the best way I’ve found to prepare for the inevitable challenges that are going to come up in my life and threaten my mental health, is to start preparing for it now by filling my life with behaviors that build my mental health like:
- Develop your emotional vocabulary
- Be ok with feeling not ok
- Get outside
- Learn to share your feelings, even the hard ones
- Remind yourself of what’s important and true
- Keep doing the most important things, and let the rest go
- Fuel your body
- And do it well
- Keep in touch with friends and family
- Develop a perspective of gratitude
- Build relationships with emotional honesty and trust
- Ask for help when you need it
- Take breaks
- Seek out humor and good news
- Be creative
- Keep doing those things that make you happy
- Choose to find happiness wherever you can
- Try something new
- Acknowledge your successes
- Be active
- Work to accept and appreciate who you are
- Be kind to someone else
All the underlined ideas are links to posts on this site. Our focus on mental health means that we’ve already talked about a lot of these, and there are articles for you to read if you want to build your mental health skills in a particular area.
Guys, I don’t have all the answers. This list isn’t exhaustive and you might do all of these things and still feel awful. Just like diabetes and a broken leg, there isn’t a quick fix for mental health. We all do the best we can. We have to lean on each other, and hopefully this day helps someone feel like that’s alright.
❤ to your mental health.