More people are becoming aware of the importance of maintaining mental health, but ultimately it comes down to us—how we educate ourselves and interact with the world around us. Your teen may still be learning about it, but you can do your part to help guide them. Here are 8 easy ways you can foster mental health awareness.
Do Some Research
To spread awareness about mental health, it’s important for you to have some knowledge first. Educate yourself on the realities of mental illness and mental wellness by researching online, listening to TEDTalks, watching documentaries and speaking to mental health professionals.
Share With Others
As you learn about mental health, you can share this new knowledge with your teen. Encouraging your family to have open discussions about the subject is a great way to share this information. If your teen asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, look it up or speak to a professional for guidance; it’s important to avoid perpetuating rumors if you’re unsure.
To combat stereotypes and myths spread by the media, acknowledge when your teen says something false or inconsiderate about mental health. Rather than tell them they’re wrong, ask them where they heard this assumption from, and provide them some fact-based resources that explain the truth about mental health. By helping your teen learn more about mental health in a non-judgemental manner, they’ll be less likely to maintain a prejudiced view of the issue.
Attending events like fundraisers, walks, marathons or seminars is another effective way to foster mental health awareness for yourself and for your teen, if you encourage them to join you. Keep an eye on mental health charities in your area for events that might be taking place.
As you research these charities, you can also inquire if there are volunteering opportunities. Perhaps they need help at an event or in their office. This can be a chance for your teen to get involved, and you can set a good example by volunteering alongside them.
Cultivate a Work/Life Balance
As you educate yourself and your teen, it’s important to apply what you’ve learned to your day-to-day life and as you interact with others. For example, cultivating a work/life balance will help you take care of yourself and demonstrate the importance of self-care to your teen.
Understand Your Personality
Pay attention to your needs and understand who you are as a unique individual. For example, are you an introvert or an extrovert? Even understanding this distinction can help you recognize what gives you energy and what takes it away. Helping your teen understand these aspects of their personality can encourage them to be mindful of personal wellness too.
Feature Photo: Michael Ramey