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Let’s Make It OK to Talk About Mental Health

Published in Behavioral Health Services, For the Health of It Author: Lisa Bershok, MSW, LICSW, CentraCare Suicide Prevention Program Manager

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being and mental illnesses are common and treatable. One in five people in the U.S. experience a mental illness in any given year. Yet, we often avoid discussing our experiences with mental health disorders, whether personal or in support of a loved one or colleague, due to mental illness stigma.

A group of community employers and collaborators have joined together to start a conversation about mental health to decrease stigma, educate on the causes of mental illness, and communicate how common and treatable they can be. Learn more about these virtual community presentations from 7:30-8:30 p.m. June 8, 4:30-5:30 p.m. June 15 and noon to 1 p.m. June 22.

Mental health is all around us, but what exactly is mental health? Mental health is your general sense of emotional, psychological and cognitive well-being. You have mental health every day, but it’s often ignored unless something is going seriously wrong. The best way to prevent that is to pay attention to your mental health even when you are feeling OK or even good.

Notice how your mental health is always changing. Yesterday might have been a better day than today, and that’s OK. Part of being human is moving with your emotions. Know when something isn’t going exactly how you want it to, check in with yourself, and reach out to your friends and family for help when you need to take some time for your mental health or don’t know what to do.

Here are a few tips for taking care of yourself:

  • Accept yourself as you are.
  • Write down your daily accomplishments rather than, or in addition to, your to-do list. Celebrate those accomplishments.
  • Create a self-care plan to support your mental well-being in your daily life. Finding joy, connecting with others, helping others, learning something new, and finding spiritual connections on a daily basis can help you flourish.
  • Learn how to cope with stress with practical exercises like taking a few slow deep breaths, focusing on each of your senses, and trying to be fully present in what you are doing.
  • Make small goals. Taking time for yourself is not something that will happen overnight.
  • Get out in nature, be present with your surroundings.
  • Check out the Minnesota Department of Health everyday tools and tips for mental well-being.

Find more tips on taking care of your mental well-being in the Minnesota Department of Health Wellness Guide.

Visit Mental Health America’s website with more resources and tips on managing mental well-being.

You are not alone. If you need to talk, consider calling the Minnesota Peer Support Connection Warmline. Certified Peer Specialists are available to listen, provide support and referrals at 1-844-739-6369 seven nights a week from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.

If you, or someone you know, are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text MN to 741741.