This year we mark the over 65 years’ movement to build awareness about mental health concerns of all Americans. The 2014 theme, “Mind Your Health”, draws specific significance for the African American community. Still faced with a number of challenges to minding our mental health, we consider concerns specific to the African American community and what we need to know in order to be better advocates and stewards of our individual and community mental health and wellness.
Minding Our Collective Mental Health
What can we do to be better advocates/stewards of mental health for ourselves and within community? The tips below provide a start.
—If you see something, say something. It is not helpful to engage the complicity of silence around mental health issues and concerns, including substance abuse. This silence only furthers stigma and slows the process to accessing needed services.
—Help/get help navigating insurance and other complicated policy. In the midst of mental health crisis, one’s cognitive and emotional capacities are overextended. Assistance reading and making meaning of the small print can be a great help.
—Facilitate/ask for assistance making calls/appointments. Depending on the level of care needed, it is possible making the necessary calls to providers and/or scheduling/attending appointments can be overwhelming. If needed, ask for help and/or consider ways you or others may assist with these tasks.
— Self-care. While being a support to another is important, you are only as helpful as you are well. Be sure that you engage your support networks and engage personal self-care practices, such as eating well and regularly, drinking enough water and getting adequate rest.
Read more about what we can do to better our mental health at BlackDoctor.Org.
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