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  • Dr. Colleen M. Fairbanks

Mental Health Awareness Day

October 10th is Mental Health Awareness Day. As with a lot of awareness days I often wonder how people mark the occasion, but my wonderment of this particular day is heighted because mental health is such an interesting topic in our society.

Some of us may believe mental health issues are something other people struggle with and that these difficulties are a sign of weakness. We think we’re stronger. We’ll be fine. Here’s the thing, though, if you have a head, a heart, and a soul you will experience mental health issues just as you experience physical health issues. It’s part of being human. Why can we readily discuss our sprained knee or our poorly controlled seasonal allergies, but no way is it okay to talk about my feeling of fatigue and being overwhelmed, or my anger and lack of patience?

Just like physical health issues occur on a continuum, so do mental health issues. It’s just as important to be in tune with symptoms of mental health as you are with physical health. Take stock of your mental health read flags (e.g., eating/drinking more than normal, difficulty sleeping, poor focus and concentration, lack of enjoyment, etc.) and find ways to get back on your feet.

Please know it is not a sign of weakness to struggle with life. Life is messy, wonderful, stressful, and beautiful. Celebrate the good and learn ways to navigate through the rocky waters. Find the support you need, whether that be through spending time with loved ones, exercising, eating healthy, attending religious services, making time to engage in that hobby you’ve long since abandoned, meditating, or seeking professional care. Whichever you prefer, it’s important find a healthy outlet to give you solid footing in the midst of personal chaos. Being a human is hard, but reaching out and getting the assistance you need shouldn’t be.

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