October 10th is World Mental Health Day 2021! This year’s theme is “Mental Health in an Unequal World.”
Our individual backgrounds, personalities, and cultures make for a unique mental fitness journey for everyone. Thankfully, there are some tried-and-true strategies that everyone can use to help manage their mental health.
5 Ways to Observe World Mental Health Day 2021
Today is an opportunity to reflect on how you can better your own mental health while helping others in the process. Here are 5 ways you can observe World Mental Health Day, boost your long-term wellbeing, and help make mental health care for all a reality!
In a nutshell:
- Learn how to talk about mental health with others
- Support companies and nonprofits that prioritize mental health
- Meet with a counselor
- Learn how to take care of yourself
- Create a mental fitness routine
1. Learn how to talk about mental health with others
Talking about struggles opens the door to healing.
Yes, it is vulnerable. Uncomfortable. Awkward. Painful. But the benefits of talking about mental health will pay you back many times over.
Talking about mental health is essential—even if you aren’t struggling yourself. Knowing how to handle these situations will enable you to help others better and connect more deeply.
So, how does one talk about mental health?
If you’re the one struggling
If maintaining your mental fitness has been a battle, it may be time to talk about it. It’s okay to talk about your stress, fear, depression, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, and other negative feelings.
Go to someone that you trust. It could be a friend, mentor, family member, partner, therapist, or someone else. You can also consider texting or calling a confidential mental health hotline like NAMI’s.
You can start by talking about how you feel. Talk about your struggle. It can all start with a couple of sentences, like this: “Lately I have been feeling very overwhelmed with all the work I have to do. I can tell that it is starting to make me distant from my family, and I haven’t been taking care of myself properly. I am trying to figure out a plan to help me overcome this.”
If someone else is struggling
Listen with empathy, and treat the other person in the way you’d like to be treated. Don’t judge them, and don’t jump straight into giving advice. Honor their trust.
It wouldn’t hurt to learn more about mental health struggles and how they can impact us. Brushing up on these things will help you understand where the other person is coming from.
If there is a crisis, you may need to call 911 or a family member of the person confiding in you. Here is a guide from the Suicide Prevention Lifeline with more information on helping someone else if they are in a crisis.
Create a home and workplace atmosphere where it’s okay to talk about your struggles by following these tips. You can even send this blog post or other mental health resources to an HR leader at your company! Nowadays, there are many ways for employers to find and provide mental health support for their teams.
When you talk about mental health with others, you help fight the stigma and spread awareness. You will help more people get help.
Check out our in-depth guide on how to talk about mental health at work for even more pointers.
2. Support companies and nonprofits that prioritize mental health
Now that you understand the importance of an open mental health dialogue, you can go out and support causes that are part of the solution.
Give your resources—your time, money, and expertise—to organizations working to better mental health for all.
Here is an article from Verywell Mind on organizations to consider supporting.
You can also encourage your company leaders to add a wellness or mental health program to their benefits package if they haven’t already!
3. Meet with a counselor
…even if you aren’t struggling.
Talking to a counselor can help you grow. A counselor’s job is to help you overcome your challenges. They are a supporter that will walk on your mental health journey with you.
Your conversation with your therapist is confidential and safe.
During your first session, you’ll typically talk about what you have been dealing with, and your therapist will help create a treatment plan for you.
Therapy is vulnerable. It can be challenging. But it is investing in yourself. Therapy will help you live life as your best self.
Even if you aren’t struggling, talking to a therapist can be a great way to do a self check-in—kind of like your yearly (or, perhaps less frequent) PCP appointment.
Here is a video of Nivati CEO and Founder Amelia Wilcox sharing her therapy story for World Mental Health Day 2021.
If you’re new to therapy and aren’t sure what to expect, check out these resources:
- How to Start Therapy: Common Questions Answered
- How to Get the Most Out of Therapy
- 5 Myths About Therapy
4. Learn how to take care of yourself
We’ve all heard the cliché. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first…
But it is true!
Learning how to take care of yourself is a journey. It is one of the hardest things we have to learn as adults. How in the world can we expect to take care of our work, our families, our friends, our other responsibilities if we don’t recharge the body, soul, and mind that carries us?
Figure out what helps you recharge.
If you’re stumped, here are some self-care ideas you can try:
Here’s some advice on how to use mindfulness to help reduce stress, along with a breathing exercise for World Mental Health Day.
5. Create a mental fitness routine
Once you’ve determined what helps you recharge, make small promises to yourself to do those things consistently.
The goal is to create a mental fitness routine, similar to making a meal or exercise plan.
Determine what helps you recharge. Then make doing those things a priority. Heck, mark it on your calendar if you have to. Set a reminder to take a 15-minute break from whatever you are doing. It works.
Bake time into your day for practicing self-care and mindfulness. Remind yourself of what is true. Keep a journal to track your progress. Write down what you learn. Do rewarding activities with others, like playing music, playing on a sports team, or joining a club. Make it a point to take care of your body as well!
Your therapist and support system can help hold you accountable.
When you better your own mental health, you set the example for your loved ones and coworkers. Taking care of yourself can make all the difference.
Happy World Mental Health Day 2021!
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