You can help end mental health stigma, did you know that? No, you can’t do it alone and it certainly won’t be done overnight. But if every single one of us took a few little steps in our daily lives to alter the world around us, imagine how quickly things would spread?
Don’t stop learning. You don’t know all there is to know about mental health, and neither do it. It’s imperative that we keep reading, keep having the tough conversations, listening to podcasts, and doing all we can to educate ourselves on what mental health problems actually entail and how we can help those struggling – and ourselves.
Watch your language. It’s all too easy to ignore little words like ‘insane’, ‘crazy’, ‘depressed’, and ‘totally OCD’. They creep into daily conversation and I bet we’re all guilty of saying things like that once in a while. But stop. Be mindful and considerate of what we say, and remind others that there are many alternative words to use to describe our thoughts and feelings without dragging valid mental health conditions through the dirt just to make a point.
Send that text. Know someone who’s struggling? Do your bit to make them feel wanted, appreciated, and loved. Get in touch and stay in touch. With busy lives, it’s so easy to say ‘we must catch up’ but those words are just empty if nothing comes of it. Your text could be the one thing making someone smile today.
Normalise it. It isn’t easy to speak out about our own mental health concerns and the struggles we face. But every time we do, we reinforce the fact that mental health struggles are not bad or wrong, nor do they mean that someone is failing, broken, or undeserving of love and affection. Mental health problems are more common than a lot of us realise, and deserve the same level of attention and care as someone with a physical illness does.
The main thing you can do is talk, talk, talk. Keep channels of communication open between yourself and your friends, your family, your co-workers, your acquaintances. But taking small steps to alter our daily lives to take mental health into consideration can have a huge impact.
Some resources you can turn to for more information or if you need to talk urgently: