According to the online resource, MentalHealth.gov, Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Reportedly, one-in-five people are affected by some type of mental health issue and believe it or not, these numbers may be more accurate than you think.
It’s very important to check on your loved ones because on the outside, they may seem perfectly okay but you never know what someone is experiencing on the inside.
We see extreme cases of mental health problems far too often and most recently, the suicides of designer, Kate Spade; rock musican, Chester Bennington; and chef and television personality, Anthony Bourdain.
These highly publicized deaths have brought attention to a disease that is quite frequently swept under the rug. Unfortunately, it takes drastic events to bring notice to a behavioral issue that has been around since the beginning of time.
In the African American community, many people misunderstand a mental health condition and some refuse to talk about this topic, or to seek medical help.
How the black community relates to mental health and copes with certain mental health issues is definitely different than the rest of the population.
The lack of knowledge and information about mental health in the black community, ultimately leads to much bigger issues. Generally, the response to someone experiencing depression or having suicidal thoughts is to “pray about it,” rather than to seek professsional intervention and treatment. While spirituality is important, seeking treatment needs to be a priority. Shame and stigma associated with these conditions needs to be eradicated completely.
So how do we overcome mental health issues? We can start by implementing the steps below into our lives:
Talk about it. I remember the days when therapy was taboo. I can’t express how important it is to talk about your issues. I can personally attest to the stress relief that comes from talking through it instead of suppressing it. Over the past few months I’ve learned to open up more for the simple fact that there are people who love and care about you and want to help. It is also imperative to seek medical treatment.
Set goals. Don’t ever stay set in your depressive state. Seek professional help and learn to combat issues by setting personal goals to help you get to the next level in your life.
Be good to yourself— mind, body and soul. Regular exercise can help ease depression and anxiety by enhancing your sense of wellbeing.
Take time off. The no “days off” mentality is harmful to your mental health. It’s important to take time off when you need to. It’s difficult to be a productive member of society if you are tired and stressed. It’s okay to take care of yourself first.
Live a little. Try something new and make time for the things you enjoy. Take up a hobby, visit a museum, get out there and enjoy life.
Spread love and check on your loved ones to make sure they’re actually okay. “I’m okay” or “I’ll be okay” could very well be a cover up. It’s okay to not be okay but knowing how to overcome is truly imperative.
Remember that it’s okay to take care of your mental wellbeing and put yourself first!
Positively Caviar, Inc. is a nonprofit organization focused on a message of positivity and optimism in our digitally centric lives. Once a month, our Nucleus Team writes a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in nature to support a purposeful and positive lifestyle. To learn more about our organization, the nucleus team or how you join our positive movement, visit: staybasedandpositive.com