During Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re paving a new path. Instead of stigma and silence, the one in five Americans who experience some form of mental illness deserve our understanding and acceptance. That’s why Valley Oaks Health is joining Mental Health America in their seven actions for awareness and advocacy.
If you’re up for the challenge, download our 7 Days, 7 Actions Pledge to share on social media and show you’re an advocate for mental health awareness.
Challenge your beliefs
Rethink the way you understand mental health and mental illness. Start using “person first” language, meaning you prioritize the identity of individuals over their mental health status. Instead of describing someone as a “schizophrenic,” refer to them as a “person with schizophrenia.”
Act on advocacy
Share your story, lift up the voices of others, and take steps to promote mental health awareness and resources in your community. To learn more about being an active advocate, explore these resources from Speak Up.
A strong support system improves a person’s overall mental health and increases their ability to bounce back from stressful situations. Check out these tips for building a successful support system.
Engage in self-care
While helping others is a critical part of mental health awareness and advocacy, your well-being matters too. Finding ways to decompress and relax can help you better manage stress and keep your mental health a priority.
Screening for mental health conditions should be as normal as screenings for heart disease, cancer, and other chronic health conditions. Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine if you are experiencing symptoms of a serious condition.
Get mental health into the debates
Use your voice on social media to tweet hosts and moderators. Ask them to bring mental health into the spotlight during upcoming national and local debates.
Whether you give time, money, or resources, what you have to offer can make a difference. Buy a coffee for a friend and hear their worries. Volunteer with at-risk children and be a cheerleader for their success. And remember to carry what you’ve done this week into every week.