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Spotlight on Mental Health

May 26, 2017
byLaura Van Eperen inHealth and Science
Mental Health Awareness Blog - Graphic

When I saw Mental Health America’s (MHA) Risky Business campaign to raise awareness during May’s mental health month I thought of the movie and its leading-actor, Tom Cruise. A few years back I was working in the communications department at a psychiatric association when he was interviewed by Matt Lauer and criticized psychiatry.

What resulted was a whirlwind of media interviews for our leadership. Another result was that a spotlight was shown on mental health ―to a worldwide audience ―and we can’t let that light go out.

As MHA notes, the campaign is meant to educate people dealing with a mental health concern understand that some behaviors and habits can be an obstacle to recovery, possibly also masking a deeper issue, but that they should never be ashamed to get help.

But the stigma of mental illness can be a daunting hurdle to overcome. What can we, or I, do to help move the needle? Maybe it is being open about the fact that during and even after my pregnancies I experienced anxiety. I got support and learned tools on how to help with what I was experiencing.

I appreciate that MHA also lists 31 ways someone can work on their wellness and while I already do some of these, it is a good reminder to incorporate more into my life. Such as:

  • Track gratitude and achievement with a journal – include 3 things you were grateful for and 3 things you were able to accomplish each day.
  • Send a thank you note – not for a material item, but to let someone know why you appreciate them.
  • Try something outside of your comfort zone to make room for adventure and excitement in your life.

While mental health month will officially end next week, our openness about mental health issues shouldn’t. Because perhaps the riskiest business of all is to stop talking.

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