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Mental Health Awareness Month

I’m going to take a different route this week and blog about something that is close to my heart. May is Mental Health Awareness month. I was talking with my daughter today and told her that it has always been a goal of mine to help stop the stigma attached to mental health. People are not ashamed of physical ailments, so why should they be ashamed of mental ones? Because society feels uncomfortable dealing with it. They don’t know how so they will turn on the inflicted and make them feel ashamed. I have been open about my PTSD, Depression and Anxiety diagnosis. I also self-disclosed with patients in the psychiatric unit where I worked, often telling them the only difference between them and me was I had a key to leave the unit.

This month, I encourage all of you to take some time to read about various mental illnesses, to show understanding and kindness if you know someone with a mental illness, to refer someone to a mental health professional if you don’t know how to help someone or donate to the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Recently it was disclosed that Naomi Judd died by suicide. I have lost those I cared for by suicide, I know people who have lost someone by suicide. I read stories of people, some as young as 10, who died by suicide. It is hard to reach out to people who don’t understand or make you feel worse than you already do. Take some time to learn how to spot some of the signs.

If you want to write about your mental health journey, I can help you find the words. Some tips for writing about your journey:

  • Start a journal.

  • Write down feelings or emotions. Don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure. Just write words if necessary.

  • Draw your feelings. You don’t have to be an artist to try this.

  • Write your struggles.

  • Write your accomplishments. How you thrive through your illness.

  • Write a letter to your higher power.

  • Write a letter to someone who harmed you (and never send).

By writing things down, it releases your mind from it. It helps make your emotions and thoughts more tangible. It validates what you are feeling.


To end the stigma we must all step out of our comfort zone.


If you or someone you know may be feeling suicidal, please call 911, letting them know you have a behavioral health situation.


Till next time…


References

NAMI

4301 Wilson Blvd, Suite 300

Arlington, VA 2220

(703) 524-7600

Helpline: (800) 950-NAMI


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

(800) 273-8255



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