With world mental health day approaching on October 10, it’s a good time to get positive. A great way to do this is to remove the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues. I’ve heard it expressed in this really concise and powerful way. Mental health is like physical health, we all have it. We all need to look after it.
Just as there is no shame in breaking an ankle, needing glasses, or taking heart medicine, so too for our mental health. There is no shame in needing help to think, feel and react in ways that we want.
I respect when someone with celebrity status uses their voice to help others.
Enter Lady Gaga.
Having endured less than ideal mental health at various times in her life, she began the foundation “Born This Way” to support the wellness of young people while being fiercely kind, compassionate, accepting and inclusive. She is unafraid to say that she herself has struggled, and she wants to help others so that they do not need to suffer alone and in silence. Part of the mission statement at the Born This Way foundation reads, “We celebrate the individuality of those we serve, and we revere the bravery it takes to reach out and start the conversation. Together, we’re building a community that provides approachable resources, fosters genuine connection, and drives action.”
Three very powerful ideas leap off the page when I read this statement. “Celebrate the individuality”, “Start the conversation”, and “Genuine connection”.
These ideas are all very actionable. Herein lies the extremely easy way that we can all celebrate World Mental Health Day this October. And it’s free.
In the words of Lady Gaga, “Just be Kind. The act itself is free and it’s priceless.
The simplicity of these words is powerful. Have you ever heard of “upstream reciprocity”? Yeah, I had to check a few times, to make sure I had spelled it correctly, lol. It’s basically the domino effect of warm fuzzy feelings, when one single act of kindness inspires several more acts of kindness.
Simply put, #BeKind. And when we are kind, we inspire others to be kind, and they in turn inspire even more. We all do kind things everyday, and we all relish being treated with kindness. However, when we become intentional about doing kind acts, we can start ripple effects of kindness.
But what else can we do? We can celebrate individuality, beginning with ourselves and including everyone we meet. We can be open to starting conversations. Let others know when we may be struggling. Ask someone else who seems to be struggling if they are okay, or need to talk. By doing these things we can build genuine connections. Actively being kind.
There are also multitudes of online resources, apps, and places to be inspired to keep our mental health ideal, and to help others do the same. In addition to actively doing kind things, I’ll leave a few links and resources to check out if you, or someone you know is struggling with their mental well being.
Here's to celebrating Mental Health Day 2019!
Born This Way Foundation
This is the foundation led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, where there are action-oriented programs and useful resources for youth to thrive and drive change in their communities. https://bornthisway.foundation/
A page within the site that lists resources for various topics. https://bornthisway.foundation/resources-for-help/
211 provides callers with information about and referrals to social services for every day needs and in times of crisis.
Big White Wall – Free to Ontario, Canada residents
Big White Wall is an online mental health and well-being service offering self-help programs, creative outlets and a community that cares. When you're dealing with everyday stressors or major life events, we'll help you get through it.
25 Mental Health Apps
An Article on Psycom.net that summarizes some apps that may have some tools and ideas for improving mental health.
The Mental Health Foundation
The UK’s charity for everyone’s mental health. With prevention at the heart of what they do, they aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems. Aiming to make the same progress for the health of our minds that we have achieved for the health of our bodies.
Comment below if you have other suggestions or thoughts on how we can all cultivate optimal mental health!