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Pledge to Move Forward Together on World Mental Health Day 2021

With World Mental Health Day 2021 fast approaching on October 10, pause, breathe, and ask yourself:

How am I doing?

Be honest.

If you’re struggling, you are not alone. Mental health and substance use challenges are not uncommon, insurmountable or something to be ashamed of. Did you know that even pre-pandemic, an estimated 264 million people were living with depression globally? In the United States, one in five adults experience a mental health challenge each year.

Add in the fact that the pandemic continues to change the ways we live, work, learn and connect – and there’s a lot to cope with. Many of us are still navigating feelings of frustration, uncertainty or exhaustion even as we embrace moments of love, hope and joy.

There is no easy way through this. But as World Mental Health Day reminds us, if we’re going to emerge from these difficulties strong, the only way is to move Forward Together. For the Mental Health First Aid USA (MHFA) community, this means being intentional and compassionate about the ways we treat ourselves and others. And it means recommitting to reaching out or providing help to someone in need.

That’s why we’re inviting you to join the National Council for Mental Wellbeing in taking a public pledge to help communities stay healthy and inspire hope. It’s called the Forward Together pledge, and it was created to reflect our vision of making mental wellbeing, including recovery from substance use challenges, a reality for everyone.

The world is a very different place today than it was just a few months ago. With your help, we can continue to see change in the world – for the better.

Here’s what else you can do to move Forward Together with the MHFA community:

  1. Check in with the people in your life. Try asking:
    1. “Would you like to talk?”
    2. “How are you – really?”
    3. “Is anything bothering you?”
  2. Be a good listener. This goes hand in hand with asking questions! Remember:
    1. Don’t criticize or judge.
    2. Make the time and space to really focus.
    3. Give empathy, hope and respect.
  1. Build resilience. If you’re feeling stuck, take time to:
    1. Focus on improvements within your control.
    2. Maintain healthy boundaries.
    3. Practice self-care and good sleep habits.
  1. Establish a foundation of trust with those around you. Whether at work, school or home, you can:
    1. Reduce stigma through honest conversations.
    2. Model wellbeing for yourself and others.
    3. Provide reassurance and empowerment.
  1. Know where to go. Take time to refamiliarize yourself with mental health and substance use resources:
    1. Review national hotline numbers.
    2. Review Mental Health First Aid resources.
    3. Review your employee benefits or campus resources, if applicable.

And of course, don’t forget to take the Forward Together pledge! On behalf of the National Council and MHFA, thank you for everything you do. We are excited to move Forward Together starting on October 10.