Mental health affects ALL of us.
It doesn’t only refer to those we view as unstable or having categorized conditions. And having a mental illness is not something to be frowned upon.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. The mind and the body are connected, so if either of the two is off balance, the other will most likely be affected. Take pain, for instance. You may stub your toe and experience an immediate rush of pain. But pain, although we feel it physically, is actually regulated by the brain.
Think about it.
In order for us to properly function each day, our states of mind must be sound, right? And we have to be physically aware of ourselves and what we are doing, from the simplest of tasks, such as walking to the bathroom and brushing our teeth in the mornings, to more complex duties, such as staying focused at work and meeting our daily goals at the office.
But the way life is set up, things that disrupt our peace are sometimes thrown at us; and we can’t avoid them. When we face these hurdles, we experience a wide range of emotions, correct?
How do we handle these emotions? Do we let them completely take us over? Or are we naturally trained on how to recognize these feelings and adjust ourselves accordingly?
Being able to do the latter is a privilege.
We all need a mental reset, whether it’s regularly or periodically. Those who suffer with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, for example, don’t know how to handle their emotions. They are not any different from the rest of us. They feel how we feel, and they experience as we experience. The main distinction is they don’t know how to manage their feelings and their thoughts, which leads to a wide range of complications.
May 10th is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.”
Around the country, organizations and communities get together to host events to promote this cause. And it’s important that the topic of mental health in children is highlighted, as being aware is the first step in treatment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day.”
Common mental disorders in children include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and behavior disorders. Other disorders include learning and developmental disabilities, autism, substance abuse and self-harm.
And we can’t forget that all of these can impact adults as well. However, recognition and treatment from the childhood stages can only be beneficial, as they can prevent symptoms from worsening later on.
Support is key. Everyone deserves peace, and on the side of the experiencer, being open and admitting is where it all begins. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. However, the stigma behind mental health causes individuals to keep their struggles to themselves and remain silent. In extreme cases, lives are lost.
All this being said, a resolution is always available. It is important for those faced with mental health conditions to learn, for one, about what they are experiencing and to also know that they are not alone. Being educated in any circumstance is always helpful, and feeling connected to others can always provide a sense of comfort. On the other side of the spectrum, if someone on the outside recognizes questionable characteristics of an individual, such as being withdrawn or portraying behaviors outside of the norm, this person has a responsibility to take action, whether it’s directly or indirectly. And this can be as simple as asking, “How are you feeling?”
Either way, speak up. Fight the stigma.