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Mental Health Awareness

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation about illnesses that affect not only individuals, but their families as well.” Glenn Close

Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization, is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” Mental disorders are serious conditions which can affect your thinking, mood, and behavior. They may be occasional or long-lasting. They can affect your ability to relate to others and function each day. Mental disorders are common; more than half of all Americans will be diagnosed with one at some time in their life.

According to the World Health Organization and World Economic Forum, mental illness is the largest economic burden the world has today. Only about half of people in developed countries struggling with a mental illness get the help they need, while in developing countries 90 percent go without any form of treatment. The stigma against mental illness and lack of mental health awareness worsens already existing mental health issues. With increased mental health awareness comes more support and care for those that need it. Currently, the public’s opinion on mental issues has a negative impact on those dealing with them, but the public has the power to make a positive impact. When people are educated on mental illnesses, their effects, and how often they occur, it lessens the bad rep they have. Mental health is just as important as physical health, in some aspects it’s more important because you can’t keep your physical health without a healthy mental capacity.

So, let’s make mental health and wellness a priority! Today, there are numerous resources available to help us take charge of our mental health. Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, has a plethora of mental health resources. There are hundreds of mental health and wellness podcasts. One of my favorites is “Black Girl Therapy” with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford. Her website (www.blackgirltherapy) has lots of good information and you can find a therapist finder. There are also lots of great books to check out, but here are a few of my favorites:

“How To Do The Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal From Your Past + Create Your Self” by Dr. Nicole LePera

“What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing” by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce D. Perry

“Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself” by Nedra Glover Tawwab

“Checking In: How Getting Real About Depression Saved My Life - and Can Save Yours” by Michelle Williams

What are you doing for mental health and wellness? Share your story and tips for living your best life.


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