In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta is encouraging community members to join the conversation about mental health.
Mental health is how we think, feel and act. At the Y, we recognize that we all have mental health, and mental health is an important part of our physical health and social-emotional well-being, as well as a core component of our identity.
We can all play a role in supporting each other’s mental health — at the Y and in our communities. The first step is to start talking in our communities about what mental health really is.
Help the Y get the conversation going about mental health this Mental Health Awareness Month by sharing these facts with your friends and family:
FACT: We all have mental health, not just those who live with a mental illness. Everyone faces challenges in their life that can impact our mental health.
FACT: There are many things we can do each day to positively impact our mental health. A few examples include:
· moving, fueling and resting our bodies
· being mindful of how we’re feeling and what’s going on around us
· connecting with others, and
· asking for help when needed
FACT: In addition to biological and environmental factors, mental health is influenced by health inequities that can be attributed to systemic racism, the social determinants of health, and exposure to trauma. Ys and community organizations can support mental health by addressing barriers that prevent marginalized communities from having access to the support they need.
FACT: Mental health and physical health are interconnected, and both can impact your overall well-being. For example, research shows that exercise can alleviate long-term depression.1
FACT: Positive mental health can be supported in community settings, like the Y, in addition to traditional clinical settings. The Y supports the mental health of individuals and communities in all of the work we do to help people reach their full potential—whether that’s supporting youth in our summer camps, helping people achieve their best physical health or providing newcomer immigrants access to services.
FACT: We all can support the mental health of our community through bringing empathy, compassion and kindness to our interactions with others. Something as simple as intentionally asking “how are you?” and encouraging honest answers can provide us an opportunity to normalize mental health and help others when they need it.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, know that help is available. Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for a list of resources. For immediate help 24-hours a day, call 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.