The pandemic only added stress to our already chaotic world. What used to be easy ways to relieve our stress became tricky with all the health and safety protocols we have to follow. Now, we can no longer bond with our loved ones without social distancing. Even interactions with our neighbors can also pose a health risk. With the growing mental health problem surrounding the crisis, what can one do to raise community awareness?
Even with all the sheltering in place, mask-wearing, and social distancing, there are things everyone can do to help address mental health struggles. Everyone can take part in raising mental health awareness in the community in their own little ways. We should not only focus on our physical health since mental health is another critical issue worth addressing.
Here are some ways we can educate communities about mental health:
Educate Yourself First
It is hard to educate others about the importance of mental health if you yourself don’t understand the topic that much. You may know that mental health is important and that it is a current issue. But you don’t want to end up using the wrong language or techniques in helping others improve their mental health.
Aside from merely educating yourself, you might find it your calling to be part of the solution to the growing mental health crisis within your community. If this is the case, you can consider taking up specialized courses such as a good Youth MHFA Mental Health First Aider Course. This 2-day course can help you spot mental health troubles among the youth and get involved in effectively solving mental health challenges.
We need to understand that even kids and teenagers are not immune to poor mental health. Now that we are living in the new normal, they too are trying to cope with the pandemic. It is crucial that we use age-appropriate terms to help them express themselves better and start improving their mental health.
Reach Out to Everyone You Know
Social isolation made everyone feel lonely. Even those who don’t live alone can feel lonely since they are no longer able to do normal things that were not a health concern before the crisis. The least we can do is to offer social support even if it meant doing this with the help of technology.
Since visiting neighbors, going to our loved ones who live miles away, or meeting up with friends is not ideal, we can simply reach out to them using different technologies. A simple chat, text, or video call can greatly help in uplifting their mood. Ask them how they are doing, what they do to cope, and make sure you listen sincerely to what they have to say.
If they are hinting about having a hard time, tell them that they can count on you to listen to their worries. There are also mental health resources available in case they now need the pros. For those hinting or considering self-harm, make sure to let them know that it is worth getting professional help.
Use Social Media to Inspire Others to Be Open-Minded
The problem with society is that many people still think mental health is not that big of a deal. Even with the efforts of many people trying to normalize mental health, there are still people who think mental illness is only in the mind. Using free platforms like social media is a good way to educate and inspire others to speak up about their mental health.
We can use social media to inspire others to be inquisitive and open-minded about mental illnesses. We need more people talking about mental health. This is the first step in encouraging people to learn more about mental health.
When sharing posts about mental health, be sure to only share facts. There are many valid sources on the internet that you can share. Validate your sources before you share anything.
Encourage Everyone to Live a Healthier Lifestyle
One’s lifestyle can influence their mental health. Encourage everyone to live a better life not only because we are currently facing a pandemic. A healthy and active lifestyle can also help improve one’s mental health.
According to studies, physical activity promotes mental health. It helps improve one’s mood, release stress and tension, and even ease anxiety. This is also a good way to strengthen the body while improving one’s mental and physical energy.
Exercising more and letting your neighbors see you stay active can be enough to entice them to do the same. You can even go for a jog with a friend or two provided you practice social distancing while running. The more people they see exercising within the community, the more people will see this as a great way to stay healthy and sane.
There are so many things you can do to help raise mental health awareness within the community. The trick is to start with yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors. Stop being on the sideline and choose to be among the mental health warriors aiming to help improve community mental health.