What is a 303 in mental health
An average of 1 in 5 American adults will suffer from some mental illness each year, but with global events like the pandemic, those numbers are sure to increase. In the past, some people may have believed that mental health was only a problem for people with mental illness, but the reality is that everyone will face difficult situations that call their mental health into question.
Whether you suffer from a mental illness yourself or know someone who can tackle their own challenges, the bottom line is that mental health is there for everyone. Awareness, accessibility, and allies are all issues of the community. Here's how you can stand up for mental health well beyond Mental Health Month and help normalize the conversation so people can get the help they need, faster and easier.
What does it mean to be an ally?
Fight stigma is all about community support for mental health. Stereotypes and misinformation about mental illness have made it difficult for some people to seek help with treatable problems. However, allies can create safe spaces where people feel comfortable discussing their state of mind, receiving treatment, and sharing their stories with others. Fortunately, there are many ways you can be an ally and advocate for the mental health of your community.
1. Educate yourself and others
The fear of mental illness is often based on a lack of education and understanding. A common misconception to consider mental illness as one thing when in reality different disorders and illnesses can vary in severity and symptoms, which makes the methods of treatment very different. Do your own research to better understand the basics of some of these conditions by checking out trusted resources like the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the World Health Organization (WER).
2. Ask how you can help
When someone is struggling with a mental health problem, asking for help can be difficult. Remove a barrier by having the conversation yourself. A simple question like, “I've noticed you have had a tough time lately. What can I do to help? "can create a safe place where someone can talk about their problem and get help without having to seek it. In addition, the treatment looks for each person based on their personality, mental illness, and degree." If you ask how you can help, make sure you are able to help someone in a way that will be of benefit to them specifically.
3. Listen with empathy
Another common reason people avoid disclosing their mental health problems is a fear of judgment and discrimination. Understand that talking about an illness feels incredibly vulnerable and nerve-wracking to others. Let loved ones know their voices are being heard by listening carefully, not interrupting, and acknowledging that they are not defined by their insanity. You can show empathy by trying to put yourself in their place and react the way you would like someone to react to you when you share something difficult and private.
4. Pay attention to your words
You never know what someone is going through just looking at them. Being a mental health ally means being aware of your language and word choices in a variety of situations and conversations, not just around people you know have mental illness. For example, calling someone “crazy” sheds light on mental illness and devalues the experiences of people who have lived with mental illness. If you frequently find yourself describing things or people as "crazy" or "insane", be sure to check out this list of alternative adjectives.
5. Take care of your own mental health
Unfortunately, mental health problems are often not taken as seriously as physical health problems. Just like you would see a doctor if you had a persistent cough for a few weeks, you should take your mental health seriously and see a professional if you notice any persistent changes in your mental health. Don't brush your mental well-being under the rug or write things off as "just a bad day". By advocating for your own mental health and seeking treatment if necessary, you are helping normalize the issue and motivating others to do the same.
6. Share your story
Awareness and visibility are essential to making mental health accessible to all. While numbers and statistics can be great evidence, nothing is as powerful as a person's personal story. By sharing your experiences, whether it be with a severe lifelong mental illness or your daily battles with anxiety, you are opening the door for people to see each other in your story and feel less alone.
7. Get involved
Mental health is everyone's concern, which means you can get involved at any level. From talking at home to having mental health portrayed on a television show, to writing your representatives and advocating policy changes at the government level, there is a lot you can do to break down barriers. To keep up with the latest on Colorado mental health laws and issues, read up on ways to contact the Jefferson Center Politics Action Network (PAN).
Living with mental illness can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be seeking treatment and support from others. Mental illness can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, social class, income, or background. There are numerous steps you can take to reduce stigma and discrimination in your community. Even the smallest of actions can have a big impact.
The month of May is a great place to start for building mental health awareness, but you can be an ally all year round. At the Jefferson Center, we're year-round devoted to combating stigma and breaking down barriers. To work with us to promote mental health awareness and accessibility, read our volunteer opportunities, donate to our programs, and sign up for our monthly newsletters to learn about Jefferson Center events, courses, and actions to promote a healthier, happier community to stay up to date.
If you are in a crisis, please call us at 303-425-0300 or by phone at 844-493-8255. The 24/7 Crisis Walk-In Center and Withdrawal Management Program is open at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.
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