Thanks to author, journalist, and teacher Bebe Moore Campbell, July has been declared National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Through observation in her community, she noticed a lack of support and resources for minorities that suffered from mental illness in silence. Bebe became the voice to advocate awareness for this issue through her book 72 Hour Hold, and getting the Minority Mental Health Awareness Month processed before her death from brain cancer.
Over time, I have noticed that mental illnesses are not only something that can be inherited but are caused by traumatic experiences that weren’t handled with proper care.
For example, growing up in an African-American home it was common to hear, “What happens in this house stays in this house.” Our families were so worried about keeping things private and maintaining images that they weren’t aware of the trauma that statement would cause in the long run. Keeping significant events and feelings bottled up can not only take a toll on your physical health but your mental as well.
Today, I will leave you with the common, yet often lacking, steps to get ahead and maintain a healthy mental lifestyle.
As a community, we have a history of being irresponsible when it comes to our health. There have been too many instances where we’ve overlooked symptoms that could have been taken care of sooner. Our bodies tell us when something is wrong, and I urge you to listen rather than ignore it until it’s too late.
If you notice a change in your moods, thoughts, and lack of interest, go see your doctor instead of doing a self-diagnosis. Take advantage of your visit and voice your concerns and demand a series of tests to be taken to rule out possibilities. You won’t know for certain unless you’re proactive. Once everything is said and done you can decide the route you want to take (chemical or holistic) to keep yourself healthy
Pray & Therapy
No matter the diagnosis, partnering with God makes a world of difference. Though getting a wellness check-up is significant in cases of health, nothing beats prayer! Nothing stands a chance without the Great Physician because He has the ultimate power to heal, and the final say of life or death.
Also, when you grow spiritually, you’ll notice that sometimes the infirmities tied to mental illnesses are rooted in strongholds and soul ties, which prayer will reveal. In this matter coming out of agreement with those things and repentance will help towards your healing.
Another resource to take advantage of for your mental health is therapy. Most minority communities avoid it because they feel they’re admitting something is wrong with them if they go. However, it’s the complete opposite. Attending therapy means that you’re choosing no longer to live in denial. Therapy is a good way to sort out issues, and get to the root of things that you buried in hopes to forget but now show up in your health.
Strong Support System
After all is said and done, the icing on the cake is having a solid support system. Being surrounded by people who care about your well-being and truly love you matters when going through any health issue. Therefore, be mindful of those who you call family and friends. It’s in hardships when people show their true colors, and when people fail to show up be prepared to move on so God can replace them with better.
Even with these tips, I understand that everyone processes things differently. However, I want everyone to make the wise and best decision for themselves. Make sure you have someone you trust to advocate for you in times that you may not be able to. If you’re feeling depressed or suicidal make sure your first response is to still help and not react on impulse.
Remember you’re not alone and you’re loved! Your life matters and is worth living no matter the circumstances.