Many of us believe that the subject of one’s mental health is only attributed to those individuals who’ve received a clinical diagnosis from a licensed professional. But the truth is that mental health issues do not discriminate, and struggles are often easily identifiable in so many of us today.
According to MentalHealth.gov, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.”
Over the last few years, we’ve all struggled on some level with how we think, feel, and act – not to mention how we’ve managed stress.
A global pandemic has infiltrated the normalcy we all take for granted while pitting neighbor against neighbor in what has become a political, instead of a health-related issue.
Then there are our elected officials in government (from both sides of the aisle) who have disgracefully perpetrated hate and divide in one of the worst examples of self-serving leadership I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime.
When you factor in other ongoing issues such as homophobia, racism, sexism, and poverty, is it any wonder that so many of us find ourselves struggling with our mental health right now?
With nine out of 10 therapists reporting a significant surge in calls causing waitlists and difficulty meeting current patience demand, a multitude of stressors now challenges the mental health of our society, and we’re unprepared in how to process and compartmentalize them.
Famed lecturer and author Brené Brown once said, “Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’”
So what can WE do to help our friends, family, and neighbors when the state of their mental health is being challenged? First, remind them that they’re not alone.
Take time out of your day to be present in their life with regularity. Listen more than you speak with a heart filled with compassion. Let them know that as alone as they may be feeling, there are still people in the world who care about them and want to do what they can to see them through.
Mental health issues do not discriminate, not based on race, age, sex, or social status, and chances are someone you know is struggling as you’re reading this post. Remember, empathy has no script. But you have to make an effort to practice it.