May is Mental Health Awareness Month so I want to first talk to families all over the nation to reflect on what great things you have accomplished in 2016. If you are dealing with a mental health disorder such as depression, schizophrenia or anxiety, know that living day-by-day and making small changes can make all the difference in having a balanced and happier life.
For family members or caregivers, find ways to keep a balanced life and try not to become overwhelmed by the day-to-day stresses of mental health and all the issues surrounding it. We know some days are easier than others. But if you surround yourself with people who understand your situation, or try to have a moment of quiet or fun, it can make a difference and help you from getting overwhelmed.
This week we are going to talk about five topics that are near and dear to my consciousness: depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, childhood trauma/abuse, and bullying. Each topic has touched my life in some way, whether as a caregiver or from personal experience at a point in my life. I have a lot to say and share in hopes that someone who reads our blog or listens to one of our podcasts will not feel alone.
My childhood wasn’t a very happy one, but I continue to believe that life experiences teach you something to help others have a more balanced life and not feel alone in whatever challenges might be overwhelming at the moment.
This month we want to give a voice to stepping up about mental health, and let me explain what this means to me. Many families like mine are afraid to talk about mental health. Hands down, I think this is a killer of communication in the home. Either family members do not believe someone has a mental illness, or they don’t understand the signs or the struggles of someone in pain. Families with a sibling, parent or child with a mental health disorder often try to keep it hidden from friends, co-workers or the community. We want to challenge others to speak up and step out of the shadows of fear around talking about mental health in everyday life. That’s why we are starting our #StepUpForMentalHealth campaign.
Families are not stigmatized about telling friends or extended family that they are dealing with a health issue like diabetes or heart disease. We need to connect mental health with physical health. There is no shame is saying I need support. I need understanding. I need a hug. I’m a caregiver, or I’m a person with a mental health issue. #StepUpForMentalHealth will make sure families have support in doing just that.
If you want to share your “stepping up” story, reach out to us and let us know. We have been there and want to assist in supporting your family. Connect to our social networks and share your story. Use #StepUpForMentalHealth to tell us how you are stopping the stigma in your family.
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