October is Depression and Mental Health Screening Month!
One of the many silver linings of this pandemic has been an increased awareness around mental health. It has been a long-held belief of mine that if we spent more time, energy and money on supporting mental health, we would radically improve our health care system by significantly reducing what ails us physically. It does not surprise me that the number one cause of morbidity and mortality is heart disease, which stems from a traumatizing world guiding us to disconnect from the pain and harden our hearts.
So to build upon this growing awareness and to continue to reduce the stigma around mental health challenges, below I provide intention-setting ideas to support compassion and connection, two of the most powerful tools for resiliency. It is my hope you will consider exploring and then sharing one as we honor Mental Illness Awareness Week the first full week of October!
- Take a Stigma Quiz. Visit the National Association of Mental Illness’s website here to get a better sense of your own personal understanding and beliefs around mental health challenges. Consider taking this quiz as a simple first step.
- Pledge to be Stigma Free. To keep current on mental health, perhaps visit NAMI’s website here to add your name to their StigmaFree campaign to support turning StigmaFree Me into StigmaFree We!
- Ok2Talk.org. Research has shown that sharing what is going on in our minds that we find challenging to us helps reduce its power over us. Sharing does not necessarily mean talking to another person directly, although that is one option. NAMI has created this website for people to post their personal stories anonymously. Perhaps consider checking it out and either posting your own Blog or sharing the site with someone you know that might benefit from such an outlet.
- Stretch your Altruistic Muscle. Research has shown that doing good can do us good. The benefits include inviting in a sense of belonging, reducing isolation and learning about different perspectives. Consider visiting the Mental Health Foundation website here for more information and some thoughts about getting started.
- Compassionate Conversations Matter. Connecting with others through conversation is a strategic tool for coping, especially when challenged with powerful feelings that bring about self-defeating thoughts and self-sabotaging behaviors. If you don’t know where to start, perhaps visit the CDC’s website here to find resources on how to get the conversation started.
As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share!