May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. Our mental health is every bit as important as our physical health. After 2+ years of the covid pandemic, division and war around the world, and increasing financial stress, it feels like anger and despair are increasing. Now more than ever we really need to acknowledge our need for mental health help and do something about it.
According to the 2022 State of Mental Health In America Report, our mental health has worsened during the last two years and we have fewer mental health treatment options available for those who need it.
I assume this situation holds true for other countries around the world.
Resources For Managing Anger
Since so many people are experiencing anger, I want to start with resources for managing our anger. According to the article,
11 Anger Management Strategies To Help You Calm Down,
“Managing your anger doesn’t mean never getting angry. Instead, it involves learning how to recognize, cope with, and express your anger in healthy and productive ways. Anger management is a skill that everyone can learn. Even if you think you have your anger under control, there’s always room for improvement.”Amy Morin, LCSW
If stress is getting the best of you, check out this post: https://www.upbeatliving.net/your-self-talk-impacts-how-you-handle-stress/
Resources For Managing Anxiety
Second, people report feeling much more anxious these days. Emma McAdam, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, runs Therapy In A Nutshell on YouTube. She also offers mental health courses including a free course on Grounding Skills For Anxiety. She has many free YouTube videos about dealing with emotions, and many other topics. Here’s one on calming anxiety:
Calming Anxiety With Your Body’s Built-in Anti-Anxiety Response 11/30 video by Therapy In A Nutshell.
I’ve been using the Curable app for my chronic pain, and since I like it so much I searched for apps just for anxiety. VeryWellMind has an article called “Best Apps For Anxiety: Get Help for Your Anxiety Disorder.” It covers the 7 best apps for managing anxiety for 2022. You can read it here:
If you would like to try a faith-based app, check out Abide. I just started using it this month.
Resources for Managing Substance Abuse
Start Your Recovery is a website with helpful information for people struggling with substance abuse. “We work with leading experts in effectively treating substance use issues to offer people a single source of relatable, reliable information at any stage of their recovery journey.” You can reach them here: https://startyourrecovery.org/about-us
USA.gov also has a resource page about mental health and substance abuse. Their page is full of links to other resources.
Helpful Mental Health Organizations
The following two resources have been especially helpful to me as I’ve navigated my family’s and my mental health journeys over the past 16 years.
- The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) has many resources for depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders. I especially like their Wellness Toolbox tools. It contains a printable Wellness/Mood Tracker, and a Wellness Wheel printable that helps you discover your strengths, and make goals to improve weak areas. They also offer two free courses: Living Successfully With A Mood Disorder and a Recovery Goal Setting Course. You can access these resources here: https://www.dbsalliance.org/wellness/wellness-toolbox/
I’m currently working on the Living Successfully With a Mood Disorder course.
They also have support groups for patients, groups for parents, stories from peers, peer mentors, and information about depression and Bipolar Disorder.
- The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) is another great resource for mental health support. They have a hotline, online and in-person support groups and education on mental health and illness topics. Both organizations also advocate for mental health services and coverage, and to end the stigma around mental health issues.
If you live outside of the United States, Google mental health support in your community to find local organizations to help you.
Wrap-Up Of Mental Health Awareness
If you’re struggling with your mental health, get help! I know it’s hard to tell someone that you need help. I know it can take more time than you want to spend to find a therapist/psychiatrist you can work with. I know that insurance nightmares and financial issues can be a huge hindrance to getting the help you need. Please do not give up on yourself. It will get better. It just takes a lot more time than you think it will. This happens partly because we are resistant to really feeling our feelings and learning what they have to show us. It also takes a lot of time to unlearn hurtful habits and learn how to have self compassion. It’s hard work, but it is so worth it to feel better about who you are.
If you’re struggling with resistance to change perhaps this Facebook image will help. This Facebook post hit me with the hard truth that I am responsible for some of my misery by ignoring issues and choosing not to do what I know I need to do.
Sometimes we just need to pull-up our grown-up pants and decide to take responsibility for our own health. No one is going to rescue us. So if you need a kick in the pants to start, here it is. I heard the message loud and clear. If we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else can. Till next time, Kathy
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