There’s a phrase I see a lot when I am scrolling through social media or finding mental health resources on the Internet that always gets me thinking. The concept behind them all is that you (or I, or anyone) is “more than” their mental illness. So for instance, I am more than my depression; I am more than my anxiety; I deserve to be known for more than experiencing mental illness. And while I do think it’s a helpful approach to shrinking the stigma, this type of approach – overcoming obstacles, “beating” mental illness – is still difficult for me to manage. That’s why I want to offer an alternative phrase to use today, and see how folks like it.Continue reading
After learning about Men’s Health Week for the first time last year and sharing an experience on mental health from one of the best men I know (thank you again, Stephen!), I decided to use the space this year to reflect on men and mental health. There are many aspects of men’s health that should be talked about more, and mental health is no exception. But how do we have that conversation, and how do we turn that conversation into action?Continue reading
TW: This post discusses suicide/suicidal thoughts.
Like millions people around the world, I watched Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Oprah Interview this week. I thought it was very good for many reasons, but since this is a mental health blog I’ll stick to what we do and what inspired this post, which is how Meghan Markle spoke on her own mental health. The way she shared her story and how she connected the dots reminded me of the value of public figures to opening up about their mental health.Continue reading
TW: This post discusses suicide and suicide prevention-related topics.
Contrary to how it seems on this blog, writing about suicide prevention, and talking about the topic of suicide isn’t easy for me. It brings up difficult memories and has a tendency to take me back to times in my life that were extremely painful. But I’m now in a place where I feel more comfortable sharing what I’ve learned, which is why I continue doing it. It’s helped me find a voice as a mental health advocate, and helped me form my own mindset and opinion on how to approach suicide prevention. And that’s what I’d like to share today.Continue reading
In the first post of my Dating With Depression series, I wrote about how to put yourself out there and be open to meeting someone. I don’t think I’d have been able to put myself out there if I wasn’t prepared to handle what was next, which is how I’d like to segue into the next post in this series – how to bring up that mental health conversation with someone you’re dating. Obviously every relationship and person is unique, but there are a few bits of advice I’ve learned (and heard from others) about more approachable ways to bring up mental health that everyone can shape for their own needs and relationships. Let’s dive in!Continue reading
I’ll be honest, friends. I liked my post on Tuesday about what to do in a mental health crisis, but I think there was one thing I glossed over that I’d like to return to. The reason I wanted to share about what to do in a mental health crisis was that I wanted to stress the importance of knowing where to turn, who to call and how to be safe. But one thing I should’ve considered more is figuring out what it means to be in a ‘mental health crisis’ – so that’s what I’m doing today.Continue reading
When I wrote my post earlier this week, I wasn’t expecting to get as angry as I did. Not only did it get in the way of what I wanted to write about, but it frustrated me. I know it’s complicated to properly define mental health, but I didn’t think it was complicated because the dictionary doesn’t know how to define it. But we’re moving on…
A question that’s just as complicated to answer as ‘how do you define mental health’ is similar: what does mental health look like? I don’t mean yours specifically (though that IS the Mental Health Month Challenge!), but what the concept looks like. So I created a short photo essay to answer this question.
If you were on Twitter yesterday, you might have seen the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. It appears once a year, and it’s a beautiful thing. When you tweet #BellLetsTalk, for every retweet you get, 5 cents were donated toward mental health initiatives in Canada. That might not sound like much, but when the results include 145 million impressions, more than 7 MILLION dollars ended up being donated!
I’ve seen #BellLetsTalk pop up more since I’ve started this blog, and it’s encouraging to see. One of the most important ways to combat mental health is by reducing the stigma surrounding it. Bringing in as many people into the conversation as possible is an important step that can go a long way toward having more involved conversations about mental health. I’d encourage you to check out the hashtag and I hope you see why it’s important to have this conversation regardless of whether or not you personally have a mental illness.
Mental health is important for everyone because it touches all of our lives in one way or another – whether we know it or not. Mental illness might affect every 1 out of 5 people in the United States, but mental health affects 5 out of 5 people. We all have to deal with keeping ourselves happy and healthy regardless of whether or not we have a mental illness. Pushing mental health away because we don’t think it applies to us is an unsafe choice that could have serious ramifications on our long-term health.
For my Canadian readers, I’d encourage you to check out Bell Let’s Talk and see what they’re all about. If you’re in the States, the National Alliance on Mental Illness is still one of my favorite places for information and resources, but there are tons of other sites and organizations that offer mental health information and services. I love to see when mental health conversations become a national topic, but it’s also important to know that these conversations are continuing every day online, in-person and on social media. And if you don’t know where to start, I’m happy to help.