Happy Mental Health Awareness Week! This is a time that’s very important to me, and I hope, to some of you too. It’s a time when people will recognize the struggles, and honor the resilience, of those with mental health symptoms.
The field of Mental Health has come a long way. It used to be that people with mental health problems were locked away in asylums, hidden from their families, friends, and society at large. Treatment was scary. These situations have improved; there is a lot more, and better, support out there. Yet, with so many options for help, people still shy away. Why? I imagine some of the answers sound like this: My friends will think I’m “crazy.” People won’t trust me anymore. Only wimps talk about their problems.
Here’s what I say to that: Friends who abandon friends when they are struggling are no friends at all. Trust is earned by actions, not by labels. And people who don’t talk about their problems, usually find they have a lot more of them at the end of the day.
I hope you think about these issues if you haven’t before. That you take the opportunity to do something good for yourself, something that makes you happy or brings you peace. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, if you hear or see things that other people don’t, I hope you know that you are not alone and there’s no shame in asking for help – you wouldn’t tell a person with diabetes to go without insulin if he needed it, would you? Take care of yourself. I do.
Because knowledge is power, and awareness fights stigma, all this week I will be posting information on a few common mental health issues which I hope help you or someone you care about. If you have a story of hope you want to share, a resource not listed below, or something that you do to take care of your health (like READ or go to JAZZERCISE!!), please comment or email – I would love to hear from you.
Here is a list of national resources I hope you find helpful:
www.nami.org (National Alliance for Mental Illness – the largest grassroots mental health advocacy organization in the country. They offer groups, resource referral, family services, and information for anyone in need)
www.mentalhealthamerica.net (Mental Health America – programs, advocacy, and public education)
www.dbsalliance.org (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – they also offer groups, resource referral, family services, and information for anyone in need)
www.aa.org (Alcoholics Anonymous – information on the program and how to find meetings)
www.na.org (Narcotics Anonymous – information on the program and how to find meetings)
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ (Al-Anon – information on meetings and resources for friends and family members of people who have a problem with alcohol or drugs, including a section specifically for teens)
www.samhsa.gov (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – a government agency with tons of good information including research-supported treatment options for drug/alcohol abuse and mental health problems)
http://www.thehotline.org/ (National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE. Information and resources about domestic violence and how to break the cycle of abuse)
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org (Suicide Prevention Website – also call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you are in emotional crisis or need to talk. This service is free and confidential.)
http://www.who.int/mental_health/en/ (World Health Organization – dedicated to research and treatment around the world on issues related to physical and mental health)
*Note: All posts this week are written with the hope of providing support and encouragement, and raising awareness. Trained mental health professional may be available in your area to provide assistance. If you or someone you love is concerned about your immediate safety for any reason, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.