October 10th is World Mental Health Day! Here are some easy ways you can celebrate:
Start a conversation about mental health. Talking about mental health is one of the easiest ways to fight against the negative stereotypes and stigmas surrounding mental illness. With close friends or family members, you could share about your own mental health or ask about theirs. Try “How has your stress level been lately?” or “I’ve noticed that you haven’t been (eating/sleeping/going out) as much as you usually do. Is everything OK?”
In a larger group, such as with coworkers, in a PTA meeting, or at a church function, consider starting a broader discussion about the importance of mental health. Consider questions such as: “What are some signs and symptoms of mental illness that we should be aware of?”; “In what ways can we encourage self-care and positive mental health?”; or “How can our business/organization support someone who is struggling with a mental illness?”
Eliminate stigmatizing language. Avoid phrases that cast mental illness in a negative light. “You’re acting bipolar” or “Stop being so OCD” are some examples of how people might misuse a mental health diagnosis to describe behaviors they don’t like. This could frame those illnesses as being “bad” and often diminishes the severity of symptoms + lived experiences of people with those diagnoses. Phrases such as “She’s nuts” or “he’s crazy” rely on negative stereotypes of mental illness to convey meaning. Avoid using terms like this in your own day to day life, and don’t be afraid to compassionately correct others if they use stigmatizing language around you.
Put local and national resource numbers into your phone contact list. You’ll be able to give the information to someone in need immediately, and you’ll have it for yourself just in case. Start with Valeo’s 24-Hour Crisis Line (785-234-3300) and the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which is available nationwide. Please note that you can call OR text 988 for help. For a list of additional community resources, visit Valeo’s website and click on Outreach > Community Resources.
Learn more about mental health. Consider taking a webinar or class to learn more about mental health. You can find free educational videos and courses online (make sure they’re from trustworthy, reliable sources), or you can contact Valeo to enroll in a FREE Mental Health Frist Aid training or set up a private Mental Health First Aid class for your place of business, church, or friend-group. To learn more or find out about upcoming classes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also try listening to a new podcast about mental health.
Prioritize your own mental health. Improving your own mental health is a great way to honor World Mental Health Day! If you need professional mental health care but have been hesitant to reach out, this is your sign! Now is the time to take that first step. Make sure to take time to engage in your favorite self-care activities and try something new. Take a hike or walk, eat lunch away from your desk, have coffee with a friend, start a gratitude journal, stretch, dance, read a book, or try meditation. Even 5 minutes of self-care can have a huge impact on your mental health.
How will you be celebrating World Mental Health Day? We’d love to hear from you over on the Valeo Facebook page @ValeoBehavioralHealthCare.
by Mikki Burcher, Valeo Behavioral Health Care
400 SW Oakley, Topeka, KS 66606
24 Hour Crisis Line: 785-234-3300
National Suicide Prevention Life Line
Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition
Family Service and Guidance Center (18 and under)
325 SW Frazier, Topeka, KS 66606
24 Hour Crisis Number: 785-232-5005
Healing after Loss to Suicide Group (HeALS)
Sandy Reams – Group Facilitator