3 Ways You Can Make Mental Health a Year-Round Priority
1.) Watch Your Language: The way you talk about mental health matters. It’s important to speak about people as individuals. Individuals living with mental health conditions are not defined by their diagnosis. They are sisters, brothers, daughters, grandparents, mothers, etc. They have talents, skills, likes, dislikes. A person is not an illness. Everyone deserves to be respected and accepted. Also, using words like “crazy,” “nuts,” or “psycho” does not show respect for those living with a mental health condition.
Interested in learning more specifics about language you should and shouldn’t use? Visit the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Terminology page: http://www.psychiatry.org/advocacy–newsroom/newsroom/reporting-on-mental-illness
2.) Update Your Phone Contacts: You never know when you will encounter someone (whether it be a stranger or loved one) who needs to speak to a skilled, trained crisis worker about suicidal thoughts or feelings. Adding the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) into the contacts in your phone ensures that if you need to help someone (or yourself), you will have the right resource at the touch of a button.
Want to learn more about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline? Visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
3.) Host a Community Conversation about Mental Health: Although this will take a bit more work to put together, holding a community dialogue can help break down misconceptions and build awareness and support around mental health issues. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a free toolkit to help you with the implementation process. The Toolkit for Community Conversations About Mental Health contains briefs, guides, and other resources designed to help you promote mental health and access to treatment and recovery services within your community.
Interested in potentially hosting a community conversation? Learn more and gain access to free materials by visiting SAMHSA’s Community Conversations Page: http://www.samhsa.gov/communityconversations
Photo Credit: Katie Hickey