October 10th is World Mental Health Day, and in honor of that occasion, I have two words that I’d like you to connect to mental health and allow them to sink into your mind and spirit. Those words are NORMALIZE and PRIORITIZE.
There is something very mystical about the words “mental health” as well as for many people, something very stigmatizing. Your mental health should be neither mystifying nor stigmatizing. It should be as natural and normal for one to talk about and focus on their mental health as it is to focus on one’s physical health. Unfortunately, in many cultures, including the African American community, mental health is vilified. So, I say, let’s normalize taking care of one’s mental health. Let’s also recognize (yes, it rhymes, but is not part of my tagline) that many people are in different places in their mental health journeys (no different than being in a different place in your physical health). That is NORMAL. Some folks require medication or other treatments for their mental health journey. That is NORMAL. Still others do not utilize medication and are using natural remedies, dietary modification as well as therapeutic interventions successfully. Again, NORMAL. Not every intervention works for every person, so let’s be supportive of whatever is working well in your specific situation. The goal is to NORMALIZE mental health interventions in whatever form it may take.
As we enter World Mental Health Day, I ask that for today, please PRIORITIZE your mental health. The times in which we live are very taxing on one’s mental health, from global pandemics (which can impact some in very profound ways.. Shout out to front line workers… doctors, nurses, teachers, etc :)) to telework, isolation and lack of physical touch. I ask that you PRIORITIZE your mental health. When you visit your doctor, talk about how your mental health is being impacted, and if you need to see a separate practitioner for your mental health, do that! Don’t put off making an appointment to see a psychiatrist, counselor, social worker, therapist or mental health practitioner of your choice. PRIORITIZE that! You are worth the time and effort, and when you take care of your mental health, you are in a much better position to take care of others.
SO… NORMALIZE and PRIORITIZE your mental health and that of those around you. Be supportive of and open to therapies that may be different from your own. Let’s celebrate getting the help needed in whatever form it takes. Let’s get mentally healthy. Let’s PRIORITIZE and NORMALIZE our mental health!
Happy World Mental Health Day!
Angela Screen Galloway