Whether you’re at home, at work, out and about in your community, or online, there are multiple ways for you to continue the conversation about mental health for all. With one in five people struggling with a mental health condition of some sort, it’s crucial that we discuss the challenges of maintaining good mental health in both the private and public spheres of life.
Mental health at home
It’s at home that we’re often struck with the direct reality of mental health conditions. Whether you suffer from a mental illness, or someone you love does, there are ways to extend the conversation and find resources for those suffering.
You can help improve the brain functioning of every member of your family by cooking healthy foods that can help boost mood and fight stress. Incorporating more foods that are high in omega-3s, B vitamins, choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D can have huge benefits for your family. We suggested a few easy switches in our “Eat This, Not That” post this month.
Kids, in particular, are often forgotten when it comes to conversations about mental health. As we noted in our post, “Happy, Healthy Kids“:
“What stress could kids possibly have? Turns out that childhood can be a very stressful time. The emphasis on academic acceleration, the glut of media coverage of violent and traumatic events, and endemic overscheduling all contribute to childhood stress. This childhood stress can be very dangerous, long-term.”
Parents can help protect their children from some of the effects of stress by encouraging play and a healthy diet. Likewise, reducing the amount of time a child spends in front of a TV or computer screen can help improve their mental, as well as physical, emotional, and social, health.
Another issue affecting more kids than ever these days is autism. Autism spectrum disorder carries its own host of challenges when it comes to speech, communication, and emotional health. As we discussed in our post on the subject, many of these key signalers of autism can also mean that pain in autistic children can be underrepresented or misdiagnosed.
Your house may also be home to a veteran. We noted in our post “Mental Health Issues For Veterans” that helping veterans with the physical and mental health challenges they might have upon returning home is the responsibility of a healthcare team and the family. We wrote:
“The key to addressing the issue of mental health for veterans is to holistically address all parts of the problem, including physical (poor sleep and potential opioid dependence), psychological (mental reactions as if still in combat), and emotional (inability to connect with family or friends). Selecting which treatment path to head down is often most effective when the veterans themselves get to choose, both in terms of healing the mental wounds inflicted and the actual cost of treatment.”
Mental health at work
When it comes to work, stress, and mental health, we first tackled that question on everybody’s mind: does a work life balance exist and is it attainable? As we discussed, the answer is yes and no, depending on the generation and individuals involved. We noted that:
“Work life balance is just as important for younger generations as it is for those that preceded them, especially for women who still, even as they make strides in the workplace, shoulder the bulk of childcare and housework duties.”
We advised everybody to:
- Define what work life balance means to you
- Realize that priorities change
By incorporating a more holistic and malleable definition of work life balance for every person, perhaps we can all eventually reach that mystical “balance.” And, if there’s really no way for you to find more balance between your work and life, there are ways to holistically manage your stress when it gets to be too much.
Mental health in your community
We can all practice and promote good mental health in our communities. By being open about our challenges and sharing resources, we can help others find the help they need.
Depression is a mental health condition that affects the young, old, rich, and poor alike. We studied the exact demographics of depression, however, and found that there are certain groups who have a higher incidence of the condition. They included:
- People living in poverty
- Domestic abuse victims
- Members of the LGBTQ community
- The elderly
If you want to have an impact on mental health education and reform, read about the ways in which these social groups often have less access to treatment and care. Then, do something about it. This might be:
- Sharing our post that debunks five pervasive myths about depression
- Becoming active in the Nevada health community
- Spreading the word about National Public Health Week, as well as other mental health initiatives
- Getting involved in one of the online communities mentioned next
Mental health activism online
If you’re ready to find help for your mental health condition, or someone you love, there are many places online that allow you to connect, engage, and learn from others who are healthcare professionals or suffer from mental health conditions themselves. Find out how to get started by reading our post, “Bridge The Gap: 3 Ways Technology Can Promote Mental Health.”
From there, you can take a deep dive into another person’s experience by reading a popular blog. (We recommend The Hurt Blogger.) You can also download an app to track your progress. Or, you can get involved in a larger online support group for people with mental health issues. By taking discussions about mental health from the personal to public level, as you do in a support group, you can inspire others and find your own support system for your own condition.
How can you do the work to reduce the stigma against mental illness and encourage others to find help?
Image by Valery Kenski via Flickr