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Start Here for Mental Health Awareness Month

May. 1, 2015 Huffington Post

I was shocked when I ventured out to a mastermind in Brooklyn a few weeks ago. I had an extremely interesting, rewarding, and adventurous experience. One in which I wouldn’t dare share with my husband about talking to a stranger and inviting him in my car, this is another article to shared soon. The other experience I felt compelled to share in a video on Facebook.

In the video I talked about something that brought a huge smile to my face and made me giggle because I couldn’t believe that this particular experience brought such enlightenment to my morning. You forget about the little things in life and those little moments of appreciation that aren’t so little.

The timing of this is perfect as well because this week and the month of May is actually Mental Health Awareness Month with the first week focusing on National Children’s Mental Health.

Do You Have Mental Health Awareness?

This first week of May focuses on Children’s Mental Health Awareness. I’m pretty sure you and I would agree that raising awareness is crucial. Together we can raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.

There are resources like Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to help us spread the word, practice ourselves, and teach the children of our future.

Actions and Practices for Children’s Mental Health

1. Appreciation/Gratitude: Having an appreciation for everything, even the little things, as I share in my video, is proven to broaden our mental health. I’ve mentioned before in my articles on the many studies that prove that when we practice gratitude often, more happiness shows up. More happiness can create a a stronger and more positive mental state.

If we can practice this with our children, as early as we start reading to them, I believe it will set them up for a mental strength and positive awareness. Just like your children may say their prayers at night, follow up with all that they are grateful for. Even if it’s the light in their room, get them in a routine to show them everything in life is a gift. Children are our future and we are responsible to teach and guide them.

2. Compassion: Show them daily compassion, love, caring, authenticity, laugher and more! Let them experience every emotion (good and bad). Teach them ways to heal, think, and problem solve. We can’t ignore our children — let’s engage and speak to them how we speak to adults. It doesn’t matter how old or young they are. They deserve respect, experiences, and a journey to embrace.

3. Support: Find a circle of support that believes in a positive lifestyle for their families. Nothing in life is easy, so be sure to have a support team there for when you need help in any way.

4. Get All A’s: Whether you have children or not, I’m sure there are children in your life or that you pass by in your day. Remember that we set examples; they watch everybody’s moves. Practice kindness every day and think about Identity’s mission and message of getting all A’s. Take every moment and think about acceptance, appreciation, and achieving. Each moment is a teachable moment. How will you make a difference for your mental health and our children’s mental health?

This is an important month — mental health plays a vital role in our identities. Our mental well-being is probably the most difficult muscle to exercise. One thing I do know is that it’s never, never too late to practice, teach and learn.

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