This week a campaign surrounding mental health was launched by the SRC, UNASA and Queer US.
It constantly gets pushed on us: Look after yourself, take care of your mental health, ask for help when it all gets too much. However, being told these things and actually doing something about it are two different things.
It is very easy to let your own mental health slip when you are getting buried in work or busy supporting the people around you. With exam season coming up, it is especially important to be aware of your own state of mind.
Be attentive to what headspace you are in. If things get too much, you have no obligation to go out with friends or do things you don’t have time for. Similiarly, if you feel like you need people around you and a friend to cheer you up, don’t be afraid to ask. Go talk to someone in your residence or that friendly person in your class. People are a lot more sympathetic and helpful than you might think.
The coin also falls both ways. Be accessible to the people in your life that might need extra care. It is very important that you don’t ignore the signs. Regularly reflect on how you are feeling and if you feel healthy.
If you notice that something isn’t right, do something about it.
For some, it might be as simple as doing more excersize, eating healthy or fixing sleeping patterns. (Yes, these things do have an impact on your mental health). However, for some, the solution is not that simple. Getting up earlier and going for runs sound like simple things to people who find it easy to get motivated, but for some the simple act of getting out of bed takes a lot more energy than it does for a normal person.
In cases like these it is extremely important to attempt to get some form of help. Whether confiding in friends or family, or seeking professional help.
It is very easy turn numb towards phrases like “break the stigma” and “let’s talk about mental health,” when we hear them all the time. They actually do tell some form of truth, though. When we are more open about the fact that mental health issues are something that touches a lot of different people, it makes it easier for these people to talk about these issues and do something about them.
Also remember that people working through mental health issues don’t function the same as other people. Try not to judge friends if they become more distant or if they suddenly ask for more attention than usual. Even though it’s not entirely up to you to fix the people around you, you can make it a lot better for them if you are understanding and give an ear to listen.