Mental health awareness campaigns have reached an all-time high. More and more people are lining up to gain insight and understand its influence on the world. However, mental health and its knowledge are ever-evolving; hence there will always be certain elements that we won’t be aware of. The idea behind mental health awareness is not just to assist those dealing with anxiety, depression, or other malignant illnesses. It is to educate and invoke within them a sense of empathy.
Many preach the importance of putting yourself first. But there is a fine line between putting yourself first and putting others down. If you cannot empathize with others, you are leading them down a dangerous road.
It is vital to understand mental health and its implications for individuals. However, fewer than many are putting this to practice. Certain words, remarks, phrases, and even gestures can cause one to spiral down into a world of negativity and doubts. That goes against the very idea of what they are preaching!
Empathize with others’ feelings
Chapman uttered the unspeakable truth when he said, “Words cut deeper than knives.” When we focus on someone’s mental health, we forget some things might do more harm than good. Once we invoke awareness of mental health within people, it will lead to more people understanding its importance.
Despite having talked about mental health, not everyone applies those ideas in their daily lives. To practice what you preach, you need to empathize. We all come from different parts of the world, have different values, and have grown to find our place in this fast-paced world. It is an endless struggle. Unconsciously, we forget to see beyond our perspective.
Empathy is the heart of what makes us human. When implementing mental health into your daily life, try connecting with others. Empathize with their feelings, which, I might add, may not completely align with yours. But the idea is to ensure you are flexible enough to set aside your perspective and try to see the world from the other’s perspective. This is the first step toward understanding mental health and giving people that room to grow without giving them a reason to doubt themselves.
Reach out and listen
There’s always someone in your circle who is struggling with their mental health. They might be on the brink of breaking down, and you need to reach out and listen to them. In times like this, you must put your opinions, ideas, and values aside and just listen. Listening is a skill on its own since we usually tend to talk too much and interrupt.
If you see someone struggling to vocalize their feelings, it is your job to practice and apply what you preach about mental health. Reach out to them instead of letting them make the first step. They might hesitate to do that on their own. Once they start talking, listen. Listen carefully, with unwavering attention. It is true that usually, you don’t have an answer or might not solve their issue. But listening assures them they have someone who will always be a supporting shoulder, which is a feat on its own.
Try to understand
You have empathized; you have reached out, and you have listened. Now try to understand where they are coming from. Naturally, you cannot fully grasp what they are going through. But one way of applying what you have learned about mental illnesses is to acknowledge their feelings and emotions.
Acknowledging them and their emotions becomes a motivator. It compels them to confide in you and not spiral down or fall into a dark place again. When you advocate for mental health and preach the ins and outs of what can help others lead a content life, you need to apply it to yourself as well. Your effort to understand someone else’s pain can improve their life.
Think before you speak
“The mouth should have three gatekeepers – Is it true? Is it kind? And is it necessary?”
This Arab proverb relays a thought-provoking message. Offering an ear or shoulder just to make fun of them or their beliefs leads to uncountable mental maladies. For instance, you might not be fully aware of whether what you say is appropriate. Nonetheless, it is essential to assess, apologize, and learn. As a result, you become someone who learns from their mistakes rather than someone devoid of any considerate bone in their body.
You never know when you can influence and change someone’s life. Be a source of positivity and practice what you preach.