By Sarah Wylde
Even though World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is done, September and every month after should still be about that message and mental health. Unfortunately, even with awareness days, informational talks, and more, there is still a negative attitude surrounding the subject. That much negativity can make some people afraid or uncomfortable talking about mental health and suicide, let alone asking for help if they need it. This is part of what we need to change by keeping the conversation going always.
Many people are affected by mental health, whether it is a friend or family member, or they are going through some hard times themselves. Which I can relate to. I suffer from social and generalized anxiety, depression, mild agoraphobia, and get panic attacks. It took me a long time to admit that something was off and that I needed help. Through that, I realized that I am not alone. With medication, mediation, therapy, and mindfulness, I went from feeling isolated and falling in the darkness, to wanting to talk about it and share my experiences and be part of helping to end mental health stigma.
When you think about it, depression affects one in four people. That in itself can be a scary thought. While that statistic has truth, it is also possible to have four people, and they all are affected by mental health. We must remember that it does not care how old you are, your gender, sexuality, race, or your beliefs. I know someone in their 80s that is going through a very difficult time, and mental health-wise cannot be alone. It hurts, and it is hard to watch her go through it. She is getting help, and we are doing what we can to support her. But it just goes to show you that it can happen to anyone.
In keeping the conversation going, there are a few things that we can do:
- Use our social media accounts to post about the importance of self-care and mental health.
- Teach it in schools! Start them young in learning about how to take care of your brain.
- Offer programs through the public library.
- Share the information you find with friends and family.
- Employers let their employees know what resources are available to them.
- Take self-care time without feeling guilty.
- Do the research and ask questions.
- Know the signs and symptoms.
- Go to community events.
- If your community doesn’t have any, you can always put one together.
- Talk about it.
Until next time. Take care of yourself and remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a strength.