Health and Wellness

Mental Health Awareness- Taking Care of Yourself!

Now I know that May is officially Mental Health Awareness month- I just wanted to talk about it now! November and December can be hard for folks with depression and anxiety- heck it’s supposed to be the happiest time of year- right?  Well, it can also be the most depressing time of year for some.

Now when we start talking about mental health, we are talking about a wide range of things- from situational depression (you know- depression caused by a life changing event be it a happy change or a bad change) anxiety/stress, as well as bi-polar, schizophrenia and personality disorders. We all suffer from mental health issues at some point in our lives, some more than others, some less.

Now just to state, I am not a mental health professional, I am a school nurse with a clinical setting background. I have however come in contact with a lot of folks over the years with mental health issues. It is something I am passionate about- we as a nation need to stop sticking our heads in the sand when the phrase “mental health” is brought up. Mental health issues are a medical problem- let’s start treating it that way!

I hate hearing people who suffer from mental health issues say things like, “I hate to take a pill everyday, I just want to feel normal” or “people will think I’m crazy”. Folks- if your family member had a heart condition, would you berate them for taking heart medication? Well of coarse you wouldn’t! What about diabetes? You’d tell them “you don’t need that diabetes medication- it’s all in your head!”. No- because that’d be just plain silly! Well, so is telling a family member or friend that their anxiety/depression is all in their head, or that they just need to pray harder, or that they need to just “get over it” . I have heard from folks with depression and /or anxiety that they’ve been told all those things and much more. Makes me so sad for them- when you’re suffering from depression or anxiety hearing these things makes it so much worse.

Now there are non-medication therapy ideas that work for some people- like nature walks, meditation, talking to a therapist or friend, listening to relaxing music, or trying yoga or a new exercise. But for many taking a medication is what works the best, and there is not a thing wrong with that!

I am on a mission- let’s all decide that we will not stand for our friends and family to be bullied like that. If you hear someone say something negative, let them know that mental health is a medical diagnoses, that it’s treated with medication just like high blood pressure or diabetes is. Let’s spread the word and help each other out. If you have a friend or family member who suffers from mental health issues, let them know they’re not alone and you’re there for them.

Go to nami.org (this is the National Alliance for Mental Illness website) and take the pledge to be Stigma Free. #IAmStigmafree

Also- keep the national suicide prevention hotline in your phone- you never know when you may need to call, even for advice if you have a friend you feel may be suicidal. 1-800-273-8255.

I hope all have a blessed rest of the week and a weekend!! The weather has been lovely here- hopefully that continues! God Bless ya’ll!!