If you’re struggling with your mental health, these tips may help.
It seems like everyone is having a tougher than normal time maintaining their mental health these days. Between the lingering effects of a 3-year pandemic, economic uncertainty, global unrest, racial trauma and social injustice, it’s easy to see why many people’s mental health is taking a hit. But none may be feeling the strain harder than minorities and people of color.
Everyone’s circumstances are different. We all experience unique traumas, have varying levels of support and feel differently about how to approach mental health difficulties. These differences can make it harder for some people to get the help they need when they’re struggling.
In some communities, there is a stigma about getting professional help for mental health issues. In others, it’s simply not easy to access mental health services even for those who are willing to seek treatment. While it may sometimes seem like an uphill battle to get the help necessary to support your mental health, there are actions you can take in your own life that may make it easier for you to face mental health challenges such as stress, anxiety and depression.
Here are some ways you can be your own mental health advocate:
- Practice self-care. Feeling overwhelmed by life? Even though you may have a long to-do list or may be feeling the strain of caring for family members, paying bills or making sure everyone in your life is okay, it’s also important to take care of you. Set aside some time each day, even if you can only swing a few minutes, just for you. Take a walk, read, listen to music or meditate.
- Take a break from the news. Let’s face it, there’s rarely anything good being talked about in the news. Negative headlines and reminders of prejudice, bigotry and hatred can really take their toll on your mental health. There’s no need to subject yourself to the stress and horrors of the world every minute of every day. Take a break from the news and social media and replace the negativity with something more positive.
- Talk to those you trust. Find people you feel comfortable talking to about your feelings. This can be a family member, friend, neighbor, teacher, religious leader or co-worker. Joining a support group or another community-centered group may put you in contact with others who may be more likely to understand what you’re going through.
- Remember that mental and physical health are equally important. If you were sick, you would go to a doctor for medicine or treatment so you could get better. Think of mental health in the same way. Seeking out professional help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a way to help you get better. Some people find it helpful to seek out therapists or counselors with the same cultural background as themselves because they feel like they’ll be better understood.
And in seeking professional help, Cathy Mangaoang-Welsh, St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center Director of Social Services, says “it is important to give yourself an opportunity to talk with somebody. Professionals are always waiting on the other end of the line for you to reach out to and are there to support you and your goals. Seeking help can open up new possibilities and get you on track for a better quality of life.”
For information on St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center, please visit dignityhealth.org/stockton/behavioralhealth.
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Date Last Reviewed: May 18, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD