One in five people will experience mental health challenges in their lives. For Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we’re presenting five topics — one per week — to discuss and share.
NAMI Westside LA’s Mental Health Awareness Month Challenge for Week 3: Read and Write More
Let’s start with reading. The more we know, the better we can understand, so it’s helpful to read about mental health conditions that affect us and/or our loved ones. Consider this list of recommended books on mental health from our Family-to-Family class teachers. (Here’s my post on how one of the books, “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help,” impacted me.) Are there books that have helped you? Share them with us here or comment on our social media posts on the subject. And while we’re on the subject of reading, consider reading for pleasure, too. A recent study shows that reading fiction increases your empathy and ability to relate to others.
Next up: writing. Journaling is a great form of self-care. By documenting what we’re feeling and experiencing, we can lighten our load and also gain perspective. Those living with mental illness and their loved ones also find it helpful to document symptoms, behaviors, and actions. Suggestion: find time daily or weekly to write and make the activity as stress-free as you can, by choosing a comfortable spot with a cup of tea or another soothing beverage or snack.