May was first designated as mental health awareness month in 1949. The primary intent was to raise awareness to break the stigma surrounding mental illness and the physical and mental barriers to seeking help.
It is amazing at this time in our society how much more open individuals are in seeking help for their mental health compared to when I started in the field in 1990. I believe we still have a long way to go. It is better and there are more providers and easier access to services.
But I believe there continues to be a problem with our perception in seeking help.
What if we saw improving our mental health like improving our physical health?
I do not work out and exercise on regular basis because there is something wrong, I work out to be the best version of myself. I know with certainty that when I work out, I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally better. True, my workouts have changed over the years as my priorities have changed. Similar, having a daily routine to develop my mental health has been critical for my growth and well-being. It may be with formal counseling, meditation and solitude, reading, lectures and podcast on stories of resilience or sharing time with a trusted individual. The ways to improve your mental health are as vast and unique as tools to improve our physical health.
It starts with choosing to start.
What if we changed our perception?