WOOT WOOT! Blow those balloons, throw that confetti, bake those cupcakes, because today is World Mental Health Day. My question is, how are you going to celebrate? Seriously. How are you going to celebrate?
I celebrated by making a couple of phone calls to friends. Talking on the phone is something I generally don’t like. It’s so 2001, you know? What with texts and messaging, much of my communication these days is restricted to a few letters on a screen. It’s easier that way — quicker, efficient, simple. Phone calls require effort and a level of mental and emotional commitment that I don’t always have to give on many days.
But today, I needed to connect. For my mental health. To quiet the sadness and doubt and loneliness and anger I was feeling after a particularly bad weekend (word to the wise, strongly consider any inclination to go into local school governance — parents be crazy when it comes to their kid’s school). So, yes, I celebrated by indulging in two rather long and therapeutic conversations with fellow parents from the school who also felt the need to reach out and connect.
The beauty is, I feel better after those calls. My thoughts are less damning, my feelings less intense. Sharing what was inside — the thoughts and feelings that were bubbling up and dangerously morphing into a need to hibernate, retreat, and withdraw, helped me cope.
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Dignity in mental health — psychological and mental health first aid for all.” A mental triage, if you will. I get it. When I don’t do triage on my mental health, a blue day is likely to turn into a string of blue days, which, soon enough, is hard to ignore as an episode of depression.
Our mental health needs first aid, which is really just triage and tending to, just as our physical body does. When we fall down as children and get a scrape, there are tears and blood. Mom or Dad provides the first aid needed to keep that scrape from turning into an infection. They soothe the child, too, by providing care, reassurance, and empathy for the fear that often results from a fall or scrape. A kiss and a Band-Aid are frequently all you need to make things better as a child.
As adults, we are often responsible for providing our own first aid. And don’t ever kid yourself, there are consequences to ignoring our emergent health needs — either physical or mental. On this World Mental Health Day, I would encourage you to tend to your own mental health in some way. Do some quick triage and see what it is that you need.
For more information of World Mental Health Day, click HERE.
See how the royals celebrate World Mental Health Day by clicking HERE.