There are so many people in our community who can be considered as having "mental health" issues, such as our uncle who drinks too much, our friend who can't seem to hold down a stable job, or our co-worker who is in an emotionally abusive relationship. These individuals may or may not recognize that their circumstances are impacting their mental health. Sometimes we may not realize how our circumstances impact our mental health until other things alert us, like health problems, losing a job, or our children acting out in school. Mental health awareness is about staying aware of our thoughts and feelings, so we can intervene at early signs of emotional trouble.
Mental health problems are very prominent in our society for many reasons that I won't get into detail about. The point here is that we are all susceptible to having mental health problems. As long as there are bills to be paid, expectations to be met, relationships that we have, or natural disasters in our community, there is potential for being impacted mentally. A part of living is coping with what comes our way, positive or negative. It's always easier to cope with the positive things, but it's the negative things that challenge us the most. Accepting that we are susceptible to having mental health problems can help increase our own emotional awareness and ability to ask for help when we can't cope on our own.
There are some problems we should seek help for, and some problems that we can cope with on our own. But always keep in mind that even a small gesture of kindness can really help improve our and another's mental health. Paying attention is key and can make a big difference. We can help by being attuned to the emotions of those we care about and doing something about it when we feel their pain (like giving a hug, taking them to lunch, listening without judgement, or validating their feelings). Small gestures can be first steps to helping ourselves or others heal from emotional hurt. They can empower us to find the positives in very negative situations, and help us cope through. So during this month, how can you empower yourself to increase your emotional awareness?