Mental Health Awareness 

Hi all, this month is Mental Health Awareness month, so we wanted to join in on the effort to bring to light what it really feels like to live with a mental illness. As parents, we need to not only make sure that we are taking care of our emotional and mental health needs, but we also have the added responsibility of caring for our childrens’. One way we can all help each other is by sharing and knowing what signs of mental health illnesses to look for (especially when bullying – on and off line – affects our kiddos’ mental health daily).

We often hear the clinical terms used by doctors and other professionals to identify the symptoms of mental illnesses…but if someone hasn’t gone through it, would they know how to recognize it? So often, clinical terms don’t do justice to what life with a mental illness feels like. We know that two people with the same diagnosis can experience the same symptom and describe it in very different ways. 

Understanding the signs of a mental illness and identifying how it can feel can be confusing—and sometimes can contribute to ongoing silence or hesitation to get help. It’s important for people to talk about how it feels to live with a mental illness. We know that mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available. But not everyone knows what to look for when they are going through those early stages, and many simply experience symptoms differently. We all need to speak up early— and in real, relatable terms so that people do not feel isolated and alone. 

This May is Mental Health Month; Nurture Your Sprout is raising awareness of the importance of speaking up about mental health, and are asking you to share what life with a mental illness feels like by tagging social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Posting with this hashtag is a way to speak up, to share your point of view with people who may be struggling to explain what they are going through—and to help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

The Life with a Mental Illness movement is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need. Even if you are just learning about those early symptoms, sharing how it feels can be part of your recovery. We want everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, that recovery is always the goal, and that the best prospects for recovery come when we act early.
Addressing mental illnesses early means:
more than burying feelings and refusing to talk about them, and waiting for symptoms to clear up on their own. 

  • more than wishing that mental health problems aren’t real, and hoping that they will never get worse. 
  • more than thinking that someone on the edge of a crisis will always pull himself or herself back without our help, and praying that someone else will intervene before a crisis occurs. 
  • talking about what mental illnesses feel like, and then acting on that information.
  • giving voice to feelings and fears, and to hopes and dreams.
  •  empowering people as agents of their own recovery. 
  •  changing the trajectories of our own lives for the better, and helping those we love change theirs. 

So let’s talk about what life with a mental illness feels like, to voice what we are feeling, and so others can know they are not alone. #mentalillnessfeelslike 

Copyright Mental Health America – May 2016
*The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any diet or treatment decisions.

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