The importance of mental health in a pandemic

How aware are you about your level of mental health and what steps do you proactively take to make sure that you are in the right headspace?

Mental health is a challenge that we all have to take on, on a daily basis. That said, with a global pandemic taking over the globe, mental health has turned into one of the most discussed topics of 2020. All of us collectively are battling the same hurdles, on different levels and in different contexts. So on this week’s blog, we want to give you some insight into mental health awareness that can really help you stay in a good space emotionally and mentally.

What is mental health awareness?

Mental health awareness is when an individual or a community is educated and well-informed about mental health, how to maintain it and what they should avoid doing. It is also when a community as a whole has no negative stigma towards the various mental health issues that all of us can experience. Basically in simple terms, we could say, that this is when we know that depression or anxiety does not define a person and that rather, it is a condition that can be treated and managed.

How to promote mental health awareness

There are many ways in which we can get about doing this and here right now, is the best time. We are facing multiple challenges and promoting mental health awareness is rather timely. This can be promoted in;

  • A grassroots level (programmes that are conducted on media that will educate each family and family member, mental health awareness training programmes, mental health courses).
  • Educating school children
  • Educating professionals
  • Educating stay at home parents
  • Conducting programmes publicly that will grab attention of people and encourage them to listen and understand
  • Through the use of social media
  • Providing accredited courses and trainings that will help people study about mental health and if they wish to, build careers out of it.

How to raise mental health awareness in schools

Teachers and teaching assistants along with counselors in schools can actively play a huge role in educating children. The right use of mental health awareness training resources is a great way to do this. There are many different types and levels of mental health training programmes that will allow educators to teach children. Conducting small workshops in school, dedicating a certain period of time each week to have small group sessions will also help. Introduce mental health awareness activities that will allow for the development of empathy and compassion, which is a great foundation to breaking stigma and stereotypes in mental health issues.

Are men at a higher risk for mental health issues?

Because men are socially conditioned on some level to not express emotional turmoil as openly as women are, raising men’s mental health awareness is very important. The kind of emotional and mental turmoil that one goes through has absolutely nothing to do with one’s gender. Everyone has the right to ask for and receive help.

What is the colour for mental health awareness?

Internationally, the colour green is used to signify solidarity with mental health awareness. If a green ribbon is being worn, that would signify that mental health awareness is being commemorated.

How to improve mental health awareness

  • Now that you have some great insight into a background of mental health awareness, let’s go through some easy strategies that you can implement right from home. These will help you cope better and feel better.
  • Meditations and affirmations – start your day with a small period of time for meditation. Even if this is just a few minutes where you focus on your breathing that would still put you in a great space for the rest of the day. Affirmations are the next step. Based on what your goal is with meditating, start reciting affirmations in your mind or out loud. For example, say things such as “I am healthy, happy and positive. I love myself and I am grateful for all I have.” You can also try guided meditations like the one given below.

  • Manifestation through visual imagery – if you feel that you have a vivid imagination and that you are a visual person, imagine what you would like to see in your mind. If you are feeling anxious, imagine yourself in a beautiful place smiling and healthy. Imagine you with a loved one feeling warm and safe. If you want to manifest good energy, and the law of attraction, watch this video below.

  • Yoga and mindfulness are also great ways to stay mentally healthy. They will both help you calm down, get centred and also regulate your brain chemicals as well as the flow of energy in your body.
  • Working out helps balance out dopamine and serotonin levels in your brains and feeds your body with endorphins. Work out at least 3 to 5 days a week. You can try cardio, aerobics, toning or anything else that works out for you. Try mixing up your workouts and include things like dancing.
  • Nutrition – what you eat also plays a big role in regulating the brain chemicals in you. Things like Zinc and Omega-3 are particularly important. The better you eat, the better you will feel.

  • Hydration – be sure to drink the recommended amount of water daily. Avoid overly caffeinated drinks, alcohol and other such drinks that can contribute to anxiety or be a depressant.
  • Sleep cycles – you need to ensure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep a day. If you have trouble sleeping, play some soothing music, ASMR, put all devices away, switch off lights and settle in comfortably. Keep your bedroom neat and clean always.
  • Eliminating stressful situation or people from your life is very helpful. If someone or something is no longer serving your happiness and well-being, don’t be afraid to walk away. Your inner peace matters always.
  • Being in control of what can be controlled. While the world may be in a pandemic that is not in your control, you can control your response to it. Stay safe and indoors, follow all the health and safety guidelines and avoid thinking about things that you cannot control.
  • Staying present. We go into depression when we think about the past. We develop stress and anxiety when we think about the future. Instead, try and stay in the present moment. This is why developing mindfulness is so important. ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle is an audiobook that you can listen to for some insight.
  • Limiting news intake. Stop browsing through social media and news sites constantly. Instead limit your news to a couple of verified sources and only check them once or twice a day.

How to get involved in mental health awareness

For you to get involved in mental health awareness either on a personal or professional level, learning is the first best step. We have a wide range of courses that are fully accredited at Study365, which will help you ensure that you get the insight and training that you need. Here are some of them.

If you would like to find out more about our programmes and also how they can find you both personally and professionally, feel free to reach out our expert team on [email protected]

Stay happy, stay safe!

September 4, 2023

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