By: Amanda J. Baker*
Let’s own it, the month of May has been traumatic. On top of living through a global pandemic, we have been faced with rising inflation costs, an ongoing war in Ukraine, and two mass shootings.
My morning ritual consists of sipping hot lemon water, going for a walk, then listening to news briefs before starting my workday. Yet, for the past two days, I have intentionally skipped the news because — although I value staying informed — prioritizing my mental wellness is essential.
As May ends, here are 4 takeaways from Mental Health Awareness Month:
- We all have mental health
The state of your body is physical health. The state of your mind is mental health.
Mental health is a spectrum of feelings and experiences. Ask yourself and others “how are you doing?” Responses can range from happy, angry, hopeless, to weird. Any response is valid.
- You can help destigmatize mental illness
Approximately 1 in 5 adults lives with a mental illness.
Help destigmatize mental illness by sharing your personal experience with mental health, or helping someone with a mental illness. Speaking candidly can inspire others to do the same and normalize mental health conversations.
- It’s ok to ask for help
Be kind to yourself, and to others.
If you are unable to cope with a problem or are feeling disconnected from activities, ask for help. If a friend or family member displays signs of a mental illness, encourage them to seek help. Professional, confidential support is available and can help relieve feelings of isolation.
- Prioritize your own mental health
Self-care is prioritizing your own mental health. Take a long walk, purchase a meditation app, and splurge on Taupe Coat nail polish. You deserve to live a healthy, fulfilling life.
With each tiny step, together, we can live in a society where mental health is valued and people can freely seek treatment for mental illnesses without judgement.
*Amanda J. Baker is a health attorney and blogger in the Washington, DC area. She is passionate about celebrating the diversity of the human experience through sincere storytelling.