Mental Health Problems Don’t Affect Me
Right about now, it affects everyone. Mental health has always been a taboo subject particularly in minority communities, until now. A lack of understanding by families, friends, and individuals, alongside a fear of being associated with the stigma of mental illness have created roadblocks to mental health. Words like disturbed, sad, broken, crazy or lazy come into the mix, but all of the above is FALSE! Mental health is all about the wellbeing of the brain, and since we all own one, it’s an issue for all of us.
The health of our minds is associated with things like genetics (depression and the impact of trauma runs in families), environmental stressors (like a pandemic or witnessing injustice), social (role ambiguity, poor relationships), or cultural factors (norms, beliefs). The behaviors or responses associated with mental illness can’t be ignored, and isn’t any one person’s fault. However, unless we are proactive in addressing the evident mental health needs associated with the pandemic and recent events, there will be enormous long-term consequences for everyone.
Similar to any other health condition, it is important that we take care of our mental health, and do our part to protect it. You would be surprised at how simple it is to get grounded, recharge, and reclaim your mental health.
Here are four easy tips to get started:
- Go outside and feel the sun while walking barefoot (this connects you to the earth and grounds you. Google “earthing”)
- Cover your Crown. Place one hand over the crown of your head, close your eyes to avoid distractions and just breathe. (30 seconds to 1 minute)
- STOP. Take a Pause. To slow your thoughts and settle strong emotions. Close your eyes. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat. This time following your breath from the time it enters your nose, to when it exits your mouth. Take 3 deep breaths.
- Embrace Gratitude. Gratitude has been linked to improved well-being and mental health. Studies consistently show this approach reduces depression and improves happiness. Start with a journal, or keep a note on your phone, and each day write a few things you are grateful for.
We have had our own experiences with mental health issues well before the Coronavirus was introduced to the U.S. However, we haven’t always sought professional help to deal with those issues and as a society didn’t fully acknowledge the value of mental health and seeking help. Now that we’ve experienced isolation, death, anxiety, compounding and visible race related trauma, our communities are approaching crisis levels and we can no longer ignore the signs and deny our emotional needs.
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R – Is a practicing Licensed Clinical Therapist specializing in Trauma, as well as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Work in New York. She facilitates improved emotional health through Therapy, Development Trainings for Organizations, and Leadership Coaching for Minority Women in Business, helping them reclaim their relationship with power, and giving voice to their authentic selves.