May is mental health awareness month! I know we have a couple of days until that officially starts but no time like the present to delve into these things. This is a great time to take a few minutes and brush up on your mental health knowledge. Even if you are already knowledgeable about mental health (sometimes it feels like I have TOO much mental health knowledge, though I know there is no such thing) it can be helpful to seek out personal accounts of others’ struggles.
I find listening to the stories of others to be helpful in two ways:
1. Mental health concerns present in so many different ways. No two people experience things exactly the same. I find it incredibly interesting to hear about the variety of ways people can experience the same concerns. I feel it gives me a deeper understanding of the underlying causes of mental health concerns.
2. I find it validating to hear that others struggle with the same things I struggle with. Even though I objectively know that I am only one of many who experience anxiety, it is helpful to hear my thoughts and feelings echoed in the experiences of others. It brings me comfort and occasionally it gives me ideas about a new way to approach dealing with my anxiety.
I just found a page on Huffington Post with a compilation of articles on mental health. I expect that as the month of May gets started the list of articles and links there will grow. In addition, you can always check SAMHSA, one of my favorite websites for mental health information. You can even order some of their pamphlets and publications for free (including delivery) or download them. I have stacks of their publications at my office to share with employees or interns who want more information on a specific topic. Their information is great to share with family or friends (or anyone!) who want to know more about mental illness.
These are just a brief taste of what is out there to help those coping with mental health symptoms or trying to learn more about them. Over the month of May I will be sharing other online resources for mental health information. Right now, it’s been a REALLY long week and next week is looking to be even longer so I’m going to go practice some self-care for my own mental health and work on my vegetable garden. The picture above is of my chives, who knew they were so pretty when they blossomed?!