Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? If you were not aware of that, don’t worry – there are still more days left in the month, which means there is still time for you to participate.
This month matters to me because it shines light towards the topic of mental health. If you know me well, you know I am deeply passionate about mental health and wellbeing. Mental health is a topic that is often ignored in our society as many overlook the importance of it when in reality, mental health is very REAL and it can affect anyone. So, in honour of mental health awareness month, I wanted to create this post to encourage you to participate in spreading awareness.
While this post highlights ways you can spread awareness during the Mental Health Awareness Month, please continue to raise awareness and take action in your every day life, do not limit yourself to doing so this month only. There is a huge stigma around the topic of mental health and my goal is to fight the stigma, so join me in doing so!
Here are 5 ways you can spread awareness and participate this month:
1. Lead a campaign or an event
A great way to spread awareness is by creating an event or leading a campaign about the topic that you wish to spread awareness about. For your campaign/event – you can focus on a specific topic in the field of mental health or have it be more general ie. on the importance of mental health itself. While this may seem like a lot of work, it can be very effective in reaching people.
To create a successful campaign or event, here are some tips: Firstly, find like minded people who are willing to help spread awareness. Then, get together and begin planing out exactly what you envision your campaign or event to look like, what you want to focus on and how you want to execute it. After doing so, start gathering materials/items you may need for your event/campaign and begin putting it all together. Finally, invite people to join in on the conversation by encouraging them to come out to your event or to support your campaign!
2. Share your story
One of the most powerful and effective way of spreading awareness is to share your personal story on your experience with mental health, be it a story of your struggle, treatment/recovery, your journey – it is all equally important. Sharing your story not only helps people relate with you and perhaps even understand mental health better but it can also encourage people to share their stories and speak up. Now, this takes a lot of courage and you may not be fully ready for this as yet, and that is okay but it is something that I’d encourage you to keep in mind. After all your story could help break any existing stigma or stereotypes one may have regarding someone who has experiences with mental health issues for example.
I was recently asked to speak about the importance of mental health at a YouthLink event during Children’s Mental Health Week. I not only spoke about the importance of mental health but for the first time, in front of a large crowd, I shared my personal experience with it as well. After having done so, I had many people from the audience come up to me and open up about their experiences as well. So, I can tell you from my own experience, speaking up about mental health really helps to keep the conversation going. By sharing your story, you can give others hope, support and let them know that they are not alone.
Your story matters.
Don’t forget that ❤
3. Initiate conversations with your friends/family
THIS right here is SO important.
If you don’t feel ready to create an event surrounding the topic of mental health or share your personal story to a large audience as yet, what you can do is start small; turn to a friend(s), or a family member(s) and talk about mental health. Hear their views on it, share yours and if you see that it is needed (ie. if you see that they carry stigma or do not know much about it) then be sure to educate them!
How? Well, let’s turn to #4.
4. Educate yourself and educate others
In order to educate others about a topic, it is important to ensure that you are educated on the topic in the first place – sounds like a no brainer right? You’d be surprised…
Now, when I say educate others, I mean share facts that you know are true so that you can help others understand the topic better.
Read about mental health, learn about the services/resources available, be it online or in your community and share the knowledge with others.
5. Join the conversation on social media
Social media is an extremely powerful tool with almost everyone from all walks of life on it, so to spread awareness, be sure to make use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other platform you use.
Here are some hashtags you can use on social media:
Thank you for reading! Be sure to take care of your wellbeing. I will be posting more on the topic of health and wellbeing on my blog from now on so do keep an eye out for that. TOGETHER, LET’S FIGHT THE STIGMA!