It’s World Mental Health Awareness Day! I’m not sure if this should be celebrated or cherished. How on earth can I be more ‘mentally aware’?
Henry Cock is a South African legend embarking on 133 half-Marathons to raise awareness for mental health in South Africa (& globally). His #mentallyAWEH campaign has raised almost R800k to date for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). Support his campaign if you can! A little goes a long way!
How to become more aweh at this tricky invisible force of the mind?
- Be empathic – some people say empathetic but I dislike the ‘pathetic’ part and apparently the former is used more in scientific literature. Do this by asking more questions about other people’s lives. Sometimes it’s NOT about sharing all you know, it’s about listening to all you can know about.
- Be confident – I’m going to play on some words here and say be ‘confidant’. Sometimes we do not know all the answers. Being a confident confidant for people that need an ear will go a long way.
- Be open – if a conversation you’re having makes you feel like you’re jumping in the pit with someone, say so. Oftentimes, people who can help people with mental health challenges are people who have faced the same monster themselves. It’s harder if you’re both in the pit then if one is on the outside assisting with solutions like a ladder for the other to get out of the pit.
- Be friendly – in every situation or conversation with friends, family or colleagues, be friendly. My pastor once said, “The way you’re feeling right now is NOT the reality you’re facing.” I realized how true it was when the months that followed were met with me feeling a upset or annoyed after an uncomfortable conversation, later finding out that person was dealing with a crisis and lashed out or shut down. Friendliness is the key tool to managing high-energy interactions for the better.
We live in an unequal world. Nothing is ‘fair’ in our eyes because we all come from different places and are heading in different directions.
Mental health isn’t fair either. People that need the care don’t get it because of lack of accessibility, resources or flat out denial. Individuals that have the ability to promote change need to stop stigmatizing mental health and meet people where they’re at.
This takes a broad combination of resources BUT it is possible with the right teams in place. Thanks to the South African Federation for Mental Health for partnering with Trimaster Corp. on this massive journey. Visit their site for valuable resources, tools and information that YOU can use to help the people around you that aren’t making it.
I hope this makes you more #mentallyAWEH and as always, I’ll encourage you to get some time in the pool, on the streets or on the trails to get the head in the right space!
Have a successful week ahead.