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  • Writer's pictureTina Chan

Prioritizing Relational Health and Collective Healing: Mental Health Awareness Month

"Everyone struggles with something and there’s no shame in asking for help." - Bug Therapy

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and promote understanding of mental illness. In fact, Mental health awareness has come a long way in recent years. Thanks to the efforts of mental health advocates, healthcare professionals, and everyday people sharing their stories, we are starting to recognize the importance of mental wellness and the impact it has on our overall health - mental, physical, and emotional.


However, despite this progress, there is still a long way to go. According to the World Health Organization, around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have a mental health condition, with suicide the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Approximately one in five people in post-conflict settings have a mental health condition


As Esther Perel has highlighted, this year mental health awareness should have a new focus and emphasis on relational health and collective healing as vital components of mental wellness. It should be a facet that we focus on as intently as we do on nutrition, exercise, personal practice, therapy, medication, and other preventative and symptomatic prescriptions healthcare professionals recommend. Feeling personally and communally supported and connected is a key component to feeling good.


By emphasizing relational health and collective healing, we can reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and create a culture of openness and acceptance that encourages people to seek help when they need it.


Breaking the Stigma


One of the most significant barriers to mental health awareness and treatment is the stigma surrounding mental illness. Many people still believe that mental illness is a sign of weakness or a personal failing. This stigma can prevent individuals from seeking help and support, which can worsen their condition and lead to isolation and loneliness.


To combat the stigma surrounding mental illness, we need to educate ourselves and others about mental health. We need to understand that mental illness is not a choice or a weakness but a medical condition that requires treatment and support. We also need to promote empathy and compassion towards those who are struggling with mental health issues.


Mental Health Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to promote understanding and acceptance of mental illness. It's a chance to learn more about mental health, reduce the stigma surrounding it, and support those who are struggling with mental health issues.


Mental Health Issues: Anxiety and Depression


Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health disorders affecting millions of people worldwide. Anxiety is characterized by excessive worry or fear, while depression is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Both conditions can significantly impact an individual's daily life, relationships, and overall well-being.


It is essential to seek help if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. Therapy and counseling can be effective treatments for these conditions, and medication may also be prescribed in some cases. It is essential to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.


The Importance of Therapy and Counseling


Therapy and counseling can be effective treatments for mental health issues, providing individuals with a safe and supportive space to explore their thoughts and feelings. A therapist or counselor can help individuals develop coping skills and strategies to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.


Finding a therapist or counselor who is a good fit for you is crucial. You should feel comfortable and safe sharing your thoughts and feelings with them. Many organizations offer mental health resources and support if you are struggling to find a therapist.


Acceptance and Self-Love


It is essential to prioritize our own mental health and well-being. This means taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally. We need to practice self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and engaging in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.


We also need to cultivate self-acceptance and self-love. Many people struggle with feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt, which can impact their mental health. Remembering that we are enough just as we are and deserve love and acceptance is essential.


Prioritizing Relational Health for Mental Wellness


Relational health refers to the quality of our relationships and the support we receive from our communities. It includes the relationships we have with our friends, family, partners, and colleagues, as well as the connections we make in our communities and social networks.


Prioritizing relational health means focusing on building strong, supportive relationships and communities that can help us navigate the ups and downs of life. It means recognizing that we are not alone and that we don't have to go through difficult times by ourselves.


Collective healing refers to the idea that healing is not just an individual process but also a communal one. When we come together as a community to support each other, we can create a culture of openness and acceptance that encourages people to seek help when they need it.


This is where the suggestions of Esther Perel come in. As a psychotherapist, Perel understands the impact that relationships have on our overall health - mental, physical, and emotional. She believes that healing and problem-solving in community has the power to not only crowdsource solutions and tactics but also provide us with the feeling of relational support that is vital to our whole-body wellness.


By emphasizing relational health and collective healing, we can reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and create a culture of openness and acceptance that encourages people to seek help when they need it. This can be achieved through initiatives that promote community-based approaches to mental health and wellbeing, such as peer support groups, community workshops and events, and educational programs that focus on relational health.


It is important to remember that seeking help for mental health issues is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength. Mental health issues can affect anyone, and it is crucial to prioritize our own mental health and wellbeing. This means taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally, and seeking help and support when we need it.


Mental health awareness is a critical issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness and promoting empathy and compassion towards those who are struggling with mental health issues is essential. Esther Perel's suggestions for emphasizing relational health and collective healing as a crucial component of mental wellness are essential. By promoting community-based approaches to mental health and wellbeing and encouraging people to seek help when they need it, we can reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and create a more compassionate and supportive society.


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