People living with a mental health condition fight stigma and misinformation all year long and this month is dedicated to addressing those issues. May has long been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month in an effort to increase education, support and advocacy for people with mental health challenges.
Finding ways to support mental health in a busy life can be difficult but laying the groundwork for a better support system can bring about big changes. Being connected to others can alleviate the effects of stress, depression, anxiety and a host of other health issues. Whether it’s a close circle of friends that can be called on in times of stress, a group of new acquaintances there to provide support in good times and bad or an anonymous online community, building and maintaining strong connections can improve your day-to-day life.
A study done by the British Medical Journal that followed participants over a 20-year period found that a person’s level of happiness is directly related to the happiness of the people they interact with. Social media can be a good place to get involved in the happiness of others, be it complimenting friends on Facebook, endorsing colleagues on LinkedIn, following positive Twitter accounts or congratulating your friends’ taste on Pinterest. However, it’s important to take breaks from social media when there is a tendency to compare one’s life to others’ seemingly happier or better lives, as this can have a negative impact on one’s mental health.
These are little ways to support your personal mental health but if you’re looking for additional support at any time of the year, visit Student Counseling Services, located in Founder’s Hall Room 221. They offer individual and group counseling as well as workshops to help students find ways to cope with and resolve the issues they face. Services are free of charge and confidential. To find out more information or make an appointment, call 651-793-1568. Student Counseling Services also offers an anonymous mental health screening test that can be found at this link.