Mental Health Matters

Apr, 30 2021

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Dark blue Background with large tan text on the left that reads "IT'S OK TO NOT BE OK" in all caps and small white all caps text underneath that reads MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS with a large salmon pink icon of a brain on the right

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time for conversation and discussion on the importance of our mental well-being. The World Health Organization defines mental health as "a state of well-being, in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community." Unlike physical health, mental health is unseen and often stigmatized. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, one in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness. As a fundamental part of our lives, it is important to create safe spaces for open dialogue in order to combat negative attitudes and beliefs toward mental health conditions.

Understand that mental health is not a fixed state.

Mental health stigma comes from several sources, such as social beliefs, lack of education, and the perception others place on emotional distress. Everyone has ups and downs. By educating yourself on mental health, you will better understand and be able to address common stereotypes.

Engage in preventative mental health care.

Self-care is a form of preventative care for your mental health. Think of self-care as recharging your laptop. Don’t wait until you’ve reached zero to begin recharging. Proactive self-care will help prevent burnout, stress, and irregular emotions. Exercise, journaling, practicing positive self-talk, meditating, calling a friend or family member, or even learning a new skill are a few ways to take care of yourself.

Acknowledge when your mental health is declining. 

It is natural to feel sadness, worry, stress, anxiety, grief, even low energy. Pay attention to the warning signs your body is giving you on your mental health status. Mental health decline can show up as changes in your sleep patterns or appetite, social withdrawal, or loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy. Mental health decline signs can also show up as physical symptoms such as headaches, an upset stomach, and aches with no apparent explanation.  

Know you are not alone. 

Get mental health support from your college's Counseling and Personal Development. Each Maricopa Community College offers confidential services to support students in managing changes, stress, overcoming challenges, gaining a sense of self, and managing crises. Faculty and staff here to help and empower you, take advantage of our System’s free resources.

 

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