Mental health is defined as a person’s condition in relation to their psychological and emotional well-being. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health! According to the WHO, being mentally healthy is characterized as being able to recognize your own potential, able to cope with the normal stresses of life, and able to work productively. However, the CDC notes that only 17% of adults are considered to be in an optimal state of mental health. There are always ways to improve your mental health and it’s important to do so regularly.

What is Stigmatizing Language?

A stigma is anything that is characterized or branded as negative or disgraceful. Therefore, stigmatizing language is something that perpetuates stigma. Mental health is an area of health that is consistently stigmatized, and can be divided into two types: social stigma (behaviors directed towards individuals because of the label they have been given) and self-stigma (internalizing of the person suffering from mental health of their perceptions of discrimination).

Why is this important?

Using language that associates mental health disorders with a negative connotation further distances individuals with mental health problems from social support. Stigmatizing language minimizes what people are suffering from. It is important to recognize this among your own language and the language of your peers to stop the stigma on mental health.

Engaging in Self-Care

Sometimes it is necessary to take care of yourself first. With all the things we do for other people, sometimes we lose ourselves in the shuffle! Self-care is an individual act that a person does to increase their own personal well-being. Self-care is different for everyone, and there isn’t one specific way to engage in self care. For one person, self-care may be having a Netflix marathon, but for another it may be getting a massage. However, it is important to engage in self-care regularly.

Helping Someone Who is Considering Suicide

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, so it is important to know what to do in the case that it may affect you. According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, there are several warning signs that you can look for in your friend.

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill themselves
  • Talking about feelings of hopelessness or having no reason to live
  • Withdrawing or isolating self
  • Erratic behavior, showing rage, acting anxious or agitated
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs

If someone you know does display these signs, it is important to be direct. Talk openly about suicide, and be willing to listen. Don’t make assumptions or be judgmental, or debate whether suicide is right or wrong. Get involved and become available, and also seek out support together. Encourage your friend to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Remember, be supportive and understanding, and make the priority getting your friend the help they need.