What can we do to help create a society where mental wellness is discussed and valued?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a month in which mental health advocates and leaders work to amplify awareness of mental health issues and the stigma around mental illness.
And as you likely know, our society is experiencing an epidemic wave of adolescent behavioral health disorders. In fact, one in eight teens reported a major depressive episode in 2014–2015, up 25% in the last four years.
One of a child’s greatest protective factors is a sympathetic adult who can help the child understand their own feelings, develop emotional skills, and buffer the child’s exposure to adverse experiences that cause emotional distress. That sympathetic adult may be a parent, guardian, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, coach, teacher, close family friend, or other caring adult.
Here are five tips to help create homes, workplaces, schools, and communities where mental wellness is valued, discussed, and embodied. We invite you to consider which you may like to try in your life.
Normalize talking about difficult emotions and feelings, such as stress, grief, or loss.
Consider reducing or eliminating screen time at night to improve the quality and length of sleep.
Take time at one weekly meal to encourage everyone to share something about their day. Through listening and supporting each other, show that emotional experiences are valued.
Talk about mental health and how it affects your family with community leaders and elected officials.
End the stigma by being forthcoming about your own struggles and success with your own mental health – you can be an example of resilience for your family, peers, and community.
We would love to hear from you, too! What practices do you find help to promote mental wellness? We will feature tips in a future blog post. Please send your tips to email@example.com.