It’s October 10. HAPPY WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY!!!!
I had no idea this was a thing. October is the month for Halloween, stuck somewhere in the abyss between school starting and the Christmas blur.
Now that mental health is a huge part of my family’s life, I look at October with fresh eyes. I’m feeling like sorta like “Hallo-what?” “Hallo-WHO???” We’ve wasted so many years, celebrating Halloween over and over again, because we didn’t know about World Mental Health Day (WMHD).
Thank you, Instagram
I would have missed another year of WMHD if it wasn’t for social media. Instagram has been a surprising resource. I’ve connected with experts in the field, other parents, other teens, and the wider mental health community. If I hadn’t opened IG and scrolled through these folks’ posts to find out what was going on today for Mental Illness Awareness Week, WMHD would have escaped me.
Thanks to the work of such organizations as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Mental Health Foundation, and Mental Health America, WMHD has been gaining more attention. Celebrities are slowly starting to commemorate the day, which means it will soon be a THING. This morning, Prince Harry posted a video (with Ed Sheeran!!) to his Instagram account:
Somehow, lovable Harry found a way to make mental health humorous. Once celebs jump on the bandwagon, it’s only a matter of time until the masses start to take notice.
Until the rest of the world catches up, what should we be doing today for World Mental Health Day?
1. Increase awareness in your circle of influence.
Talk to your friends and family about WMHD. Chances are, unless they work in the psych field, most of them have no idea what it is. Tell people how you found out about it. Spread the word.
Related page: Mental Health Links
2. Get online and share, share, share!
Social media is powerful. If you’re like most of the population, you’ve never met (or barely know) many of your followers on social media. You can influence all of those people, far and wide, so take advantage of your power. Follow #WMHD and #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek. Re-post/share information about mental illness and mental health. Share the organizations’ names and their sites/pages.
While you’re at it, share this blog and others like it. 🙂
3. Use this opportunity to reach out to a friend who has a mental illness.
If you know someone who has struggled with mental illness, today is the perfect day to text or call to say hello. You have no idea what that one gesture can mean to someone who might need a little pick-me-up. Your friend or family member might be having a wonderful day. On the other hand, she could be in a really bad place. Your phone call or text might be the one thing that makes her feel less alone in this world.
4. Use today to check on someone who doesn’t have a mental illness.
I’ve learned something along this journey, and that is to stop judging books by covers. That person on your list of friends who hasn’t been around as much? Maybe she really is busy with work. However, it might be something more. Drop her a text, or (better yet) give her a call today. If nothing’s going on, you’ll get a renewed connection out of it. If your friend really does have something going on, you might be the first person who actually “checked on the strong friend” when she needed it.
5. Choose a random act of kindness for someone with mental health struggles.
We give lip service to mental health being as important as physical health, but can you think of the last time you put it into practice? Use World Mental Health Day to treat someone’s mental health struggle with the respect that it deserves. Take a dish to someone’s house, so the family doesn’t have to think about dinner. CashApp someone enough money to cover his therapist’s co-pay. Choose wisely and thoughtfully, and you can’t go wrong.
In the coming years, I hope to see World Mental Health Day get the coverage that it deserves. I pray that we look back on this post and laugh because it has become a part of mainstream culture. Until that day comes, I hope we can continue to learn and grow together.
Can you think of any other ways to “celebrate” WMHD that I forgot? Let me know if you found any great graphics or info out there; I would love to know about them!!!
Don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE, AND TWEET this post!!!!