#MentalHealth4All is a campaign spearheaded by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention during Mental Health Awareness Month in May. This year, we’re sending the message that no one’s mental health is fully supported until everyone’s mental health is supported. We’re encouraging everyone to get involved by taking one simple action to encourage their friends, family, and community to take care of their mental health.
Everyone has different experiences with their own mental health, and their own preferred methods of care and support. It’s important that we all remain open and ready to listen to others’ points of view and perspectives, especially during challenging times. We all have mental health, and by taking one simple action we can create a massive collective change to support #MentalHealth4All.
Actions to Support Your Mental Health
- Open up to someone close to you about something that you’ve been coping with.
- Identify three simple self-care activities that work for you, like exercising, meditating, or journaling.
- Schedule a check-up to talk to a doctor about your mental health, as well as your physical health.
- Practice Self-Compassion. If you are experiencing struggles with your mental health, you are not alone. It is estimated that up to 50% of those in the U.S. will meet diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder in their lifetime. According to an August 2020 survey from The Physician’s Foundation, 58% of physicians often have feelings of burnout, compared with 40% in 2018; additionally, the survey found 18% of physicians reported increasing their use of medications, alcohol, or illicit drugs as a result of COVID-19’s effects on their practice of employment situation.
- Add resource numbers to your phone and encourage a loved one to do the same. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255; Crisis Textline 741-741; 24/7 Emotional Support at www.7cups.com.
Actions to Support the Mental Health of People in Your Life
- Let people in your life know you’re a safe person to talk to about mental health, and actively listen and engage when someone comes to you for help.
- Connect people in your life who have shared interests, such as music, gaming, sports, art and more!
Actions to Support the Mental Health of Your Patients
- Use Language to Reduce Stigma. When talking about patients with mental illnesses, describe them in a way that recognizes that the person is not the illness. For example, instead of describing a patient as “a 60 year old schizophrenic” describe them as “a 60 year old who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.”
- Adopt a strengths-based approach. Don’t just ask what is wrong, but also ask what is going well and how your patient managed to get through difficult situations in the past. This helps your patient to not only gain insight into their problems but also connect with their own resiliency.
- For more tips, watch this seminar from AMA on Dismantling Stigma around Behavioral Health Conditions and Treatment.
Actions to Support Mental Health in Your Community
- Advocate for mental health policies that ensure that everyone in your community has access to mental health care, suicide prevention training, and funding for local crisis resources.
- Get involved with your local AFSP chapter, or join an Out of the Darkness Walk, and help transform your community into one that’s smart about mental health, where everyone has support when they need it.
- Bring an AFSP mental health education, research or support program to your school, workplace, or community center.