I’ve said this plenty of times before on the blog, but I talk about mental health a lot. It’s a topic constantly on my mind, and the more I discuss it the more it comes up in every day life. I view mental health as a key part of people’s lives, which is what makes Mental Health Awareness Month so important as a mental health advocate. But how do you spread awareness about a topic as broad and far-ranging as mental health? Where does a person even start? Today, I’m sharing four of the biggest ways that I spread mental health awareness in my work, and how each of these ways works to shrink the stigma and start a discussion about mental health.
Sharing Mental Health-Related Posts
I decided to start small with my tips – one of the simplest ways to spread mental health awareness is to find content online that you can amplify on social media. If you’ve never shared something like that on social media before, it might raise some questions or comments on your post – that’s alright!
There’s a big assumption that the only people who post about mental health-related topics must be dealing with mental health struggles, and that’s simply not true. Sometimes something as simple as sharing a post can let people know that you understand the important of mental health, and that it’s okay not to be okay.
Talking to Family and Friends about Mental Health
When I was first learning more information and stats on mental health, I’d use Mental Heath Awareness Month as an excuse to start conversations about mental health with family and friends in my life. Now is a good time to have personal conversations and check-ins with people about a topic that can be hard to discuss.
For a long time, I thought that those conversations had to be ~perfect~ and we’d both leave the interaction with a larger sense of purpose and motivation. Now, I’ve learned that just by asking about mental health, I’m continuing to spread awareness that it should be a priority for our wellness, even if we aren’t always doing so well.
Educate Yourself on Mental Health
Mental health has been a prevalent topic for decades in America. While the pandemic has only added to the problems this country has when it comes to dealing with mental health, these problems existed long ago. The rates of people experiencing depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders has been steadily rising for decades, and there’s more information available than ever about people’s experiences with mental health issues. Whether it’s mental health statistics, finding new resources, or listening to people’s experiences, there are plenty ways to learn more about mental health education that dig deeper than the surface level.
Share Your Own Experience
This has proven to be my most effective way of sharing mental health awareness. Sharing my mental health experience has started more conversations about mental health than I ever thought possible, and allowed me to learn so many stories, some of which had never been shared before.
A huge misconception I had about sharing my own experience was that I thought that talking about my own mental health experience needed a qualifier. I thought I needed my depression or anxiety to be “bad enough” before opening up, but that was a mistake. Anyone can talk about their own mental health because each of us has it! No person is 100 perfect all the time, and the more we talk about those experiences, the more we create an ongoing conversation surrounding mental health.
These are just some of the ways I’ve learned to spread mental health awareness over time – but I want to hear from you? What are some of your most effective ways to spread mental health awareness? Let me know in the comments!