Theme: Mental Health
As the holidays and winter approach, many people will experience mental health problems. These problems might be pre-existing, seasonal, temporary, or new and can be exacerbated by the stress of the holidays, unsupportive family members, financial problems, lack of sunlight, and cold. So to create a more supportive and understanding community, I’m going to post a few links about mental health.
One of the best ways to be more supportive is to educate yourself. Try to learn as much as possible about mental health, mental illnesses, and best practices. A good first resource is this link to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which is a federal agency for research on mental disorders. The link takes you to the statistics section of the web site. I recommend looking into the “prevalence” section, which is very thorough and hammers home how many people have mental illnesses and disorders.
If you’d like a shorter, less thorough resource, I recommend clicking here for a PDF on Mental Illness Facts and Numbers by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It’s a one-page sheet of statistics, facts, treatment, and impact and includes references.
If you’d like a more international perspective, you should click here and here. The first link takes you to the World Health Organization’s section on mental health, which has innumerable links to past activism, research, and suggestions. The second link takes you to their fact sheets, which will tell you about mental health, mental disorders, dementia, and depression among other things.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health problems, a good first step is contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. A link to their web site is here. Most people know it as the place to call if you’re feeling suicidal, but the site also links you to crisis centers, resources, and community-specific areas such as help for veterans, young adults, and bullying. It is not a perfect organization as some of the counselors can be less than helpful and patient, but when you’re feeling out of control and don’t know who to talk to, it can help.
Ultimately, though, therapy is best. A trained therapist can help diagnose your illness, making it easier to get help, and help you work through your illness. You can learn coping mechanisms, try to change your understanding of yourself and your surroundings, and simply get a cheerleader who wants the best for you. However, choosing to go to therapy and choosing a therapist are both difficult decisions. It’s crucial that you find a therapist who works for you. If they’re not understanding and supportive, you don’t need them in your life. For some tips from the American Psychological Association on how to choose a therapist, click here.
However, if you’re not yet ready to work with a therapist or you wish to continue your therapy outside the office, you can always use an app. Recently, apps for different mental conditions have been developed, ranging from addiction and anxiety to schizophrenia and stress reduction. A long, long list of potential apps can be found here. Shorter, user-friendlier collections of apps can be found here and here. No, these apps won’t “cure” or correct a mental condition, but they can be helpful in reducing stress, tracking mood changes, making notes for your therapist, and giving you something to focus on when you feel manic. Give them a try; they can actually help.
If all of the above seems really intimidating, please at least look at this paragraph. This past week has been Mental Health Week on Buzzfeed, and they’ve come up with some incredibly helpful and non-intimidating information about mental health. If you click here, you can go to their most recent posts about mental health, which include 18 Ways You Can Help a Loved One Going Through a Hard Time and 12 Ways to Get Help when You Feel Completely Alone. You can also click here to go to their section on health, which is mostly about mental health right now.
The links that I personally liked from Buzzfeed were:
- 15 Things Therapists Actually Want You to Know
- What People Who Go to Therapy Want You to Know
- People Open Up about Why They’ve Been to a Counsellor
- Things that are Okay to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Yourself
- What It’s Like Explaining Depression to Your Asian Parents
- 21 Times Tumblr Users Helped You Feel Less Alone
They’re not perfect links, but I liked them. I encourage you to go look at them and share them. Also, do your best to be there for each other this winter. Life’s hard, and we all need help.
* Featured photo taken from http://www.sovhealth.com/mental-health/mental-health-awareness-week-providing-more-care-options/