“I need to take a mental health day.” This often-used phrase makes us feel it’s okay to take a day to handle the overload. Tackling piled-up laundry or that overdue car repair, we believe by having just one day to ourselves will make it all okay. However, for thousands of men and women, their mental well-being is more than just taking an occasional “sick day.” It can be a lifelong journey…
Building a Foundation of Support
May is “National Mental Health Awareness Month.” It’s a time to bring greater understanding and support to those brave individuals working to improve their mental health through diagnosis, treatment and recovery. The government website www.mentalhealth.gov/talk recommends you find a parent, family member, teacher, healthcare provider or other trusted individual:
- Who gives good advice when you want to ask for it and will help you in taking action that will help.
- Allows you the space to change, grow, make decisions and even make mistakes.
- Has your best interest in mind and respects your need for confidentiality so you’re able to talk openly about your concerns.
- Listens to you and shares with you, in both the good and bad times.
This is an important step in helping the recovery process. Peers who’ve been “down this road” before will be advocates for you through their support and understanding. They can have a positive impact on your recovery, as they know what you’re going through and can offer comfort and hope when you need it most.
Treatment and Recovery
Stay informed, educated and involved in the decision-making process. Find as much information as you can about mental health wellness specific to your diagnosed problem. Talk with your mental health provider so you’ll have a shared understanding of treatment and expectations. A written recovery plan as outlined by mentalhealth.gov will help you:
- Create goals for achieving wellness.
- Specify what you can do to reach those goals through daily activities or long-term goals.
- Track your mental health problem.
- Help you identify triggers or other stressful events and how to manage them.
- Develop these plans with family members and other supporters.
Mental Health Resources
Talk to your doctor or other health professional about mental health problems. They can connect you with the right mental health services. Following are some resources:
- If the situation is life-threatening, get immediate assistance by calling 911, available 24 hours a day.
- Go to www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or chat live with trained crisis workers at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and confidential).
- Call the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline toll-free at 1-877-726-4727.