For those who don’t know, Monday 10th May to Sunday 16th May 2021 marks Mental Health Awareness Week! While mental health should always be in the spotlight, this week (and month) allows us to shine a light on exactly how we can help each other during tough times. As someone who has been vocal about my own anxiety in the past, I wanted to make this post to remind others that you don’t need to give people the world in order to help out – it can be as simple as clicking a button.
1. Just be there
Sometimes, all you need to do is be there to listen. That’s it. People feel like they don’t have anyone to turn to, so you just telling them that you’re here whenever they need anything can be a huge relief. Even when others pluck up the courage to tell you what’s been going on, all you need to do is listen. You don’t need to say a lot to make a difference – just be present and try to understand the best you can what they’re saying.
2. Share helplines and mental health charities
Back in January, I created a blog post with a range of helplines and websites with information and live chats so that it would be available whenever someone wants to search it. However, I’m sure, now more than ever, you’ve come across a post or two on people’s Instagram stories spreading mental health awareness. You simply clicking the ‘share’ button on your stories could make more of an impact than you may think. I also have a highlight up on my Instagram with more helplines and quotes for people to refer to whenever they like.
3. Read up on different mental health issues
Along with the post I linked in point 2, those websites contain information on different types of mental health issues (I hate calling them issues, but I also don’t know how else to phrase it – that’s maybe my call to do some research of my own). Educating yourself about the things to look out for in friends and family who may be struggling, or just knowing more about how to support them can make a world of difference.
4. Share your own struggles
It can be good to share your own story, especially if it is similar to theirs. Even if you know someone’s story who is similar, you can share how they are getting through it, as it may help someone out. However, don’t dwell too much on your own experiences, especially if it has taken them a long time to finally speak up – you don’t want to talk about yourself the entire time. Sharing similar experiences may help those struggling put things into perspective though.
5. Stick with the theme
The theme for this month’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘nature’. I saw a post over on Chats With Cass that summarised the theme perfectly: during the pandemic, nature has been our only escape, and 45% of people reported that green spaces have been vital for their mental health. But, I wanted to share how you could act on this theme in everyday life: suggest ideas you could do together, such as go on a walk in a park, or a green space you don’t visit often. You can also suggest doing exercise with them in nature, such as going for a run, or bringing a couple of weights or other bits of equipment to work with outside. Exercising and getting outdoors may help relieve any mental tension, or help them take their minds off of things for a bit.
Throughout this week (and beyond), I will continue to post any helpful resources I find to do with mental health on my Instagram stories, so make sure to read and share (and give me a follow, if you like!) Remember to take care of yourself, and always try and find time for yourself and your wellbeing.