It’s World Mental Health Day! Each year, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) joins the World Health Organization to raise awareness about mental health around the world and support those experiencing mental health and substance use challenges.
In honor of the observance, we are sharing 10 achievable ways you can take action to protect and promote mental wellbeing today and every day.
1. Use Person-first Language.
Words matter! Put the person before the diagnosis or difference with non-stigmatizing, person-first language. People are more than the sum of their traits. It’s also important to always be mindful of others’ preferences and to be open to adjusting terms as necessary. Use this chart to begin incorporating more inclusive, person-first language into your discussions about mental wellbeing.
To learn more, read our Use Person-First Language to Reduce Stigma blog.
2. Add These Numbers to Your Contacts
No one is immune to mental health challenges, and MHFA wants you to be prepared when you or someone around you needs help. Add the following important resources to your contact list. They could make an impactful difference in your own life or the life of someone you know.
You can also visit our Mental Health Resources webpage for additional resources and [save this graphic] on your device for a quick reference guide and share it on your social media channels!
3. Take a Mental Health Day.
Did you know that more than half of workers do not use all their paid leave even though it can increase life satisfaction, improve mental wellbeing, reduce heart disease risks and reduce anxiety and depression?
Feeling some level of stress related to work, school or just life in general is understandable, but if it begins to affect your everyday mood, your personal relationships or your mental health, and you’re feeling exhausted, it could be time to take some time away, whether it’s for a few hours or a few days. We know that asking for time off from a job can be intimidating, so here’s a guide from MHFA on how to ask your boss for a mental health day.
4. Find a MHFA Instructor in Your Community.
MHFA Instructors are on the frontlines of the program, and are helping make mental wellbeing, including recovery from substance use, a reality for everyone, everywhere. Connect with a MHFA Instructor near you and learn how you can bring MHFA training to your community.
To find an Instructor near you, visit the Find-a-Course tool, enter your city/state and select “Find Course.” Then scroll down to see a list of courses. Filter to see only Instructors by using the course/Instructor toggle buttons on the left-hand side of your screen.
If you have a passion for mental wellbeing and want to make even more of a difference within your community, consider training to become a certified Instructor. Check out this blog post to learn more.
5. Talk About Mental Wellbeing.
These last few years have been challenging (to put it mildly) and have brought on an unprecedented mental health crisis. Every year, one out of five adults experience a mental illness, and one out of six youth experience a mental health challenge.
Want to help? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), simply talking to someone sympathetic in your life about your mental health challenges can help reduce your stress and improve your mood.
While it might seem difficult or awkward, it doesn’t have to be. Just a few words — like asking someone how they’re feeling — can make a big difference. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this blog for 5 tips to start a conversation about mental health.
6. Practice Self-care When You Feel Overwhelmed.
Whether it’s because of work, school, social obligations or just life in general, we all feel overwhelmed, anxious or stressed at some point. Try some of these self-care tips when you’re feeling overwhelmed:
If you need more inspiration about what to include in a self-care plan, check out this blog post.
7. Save the Date for the 2024 MHFA Summit!
As a Mental Health First Aider, you are helping destigmatize mental health and substance use challenges to make wellbeing — including recovery from substance use — a reality for everyone. Take the next step and become an Instructor, with plenty of time to join the 2024 Mental Health First Aid Summit on April 14, 2024!
At the Summit, MHFA Instructors and Coordinators can expect to:
If you are not a MHFA Instructor yet, but are interested in learning more, read up on the benefits of becoming an Instructor. Registration for the 2024 MHFA Summit is opening soon!
8. Ward off the Sunday Scaries.
Do you ever get the “Sunday Scaries” before heading back into the workweek? Weekends are supposed to be a time to recharge and unplug from work, but for many, Sunday brings feelings of anxiety and dread. Even a few hours lost to worrying about work can drain your mind and body.
If the Sunday Scaries are robbing you of joy and rest, consider these strategies to get your weekend back:
Read more in our How to Ward Off the Sunday Scaries blog.
9. Advocate for Mental Wellbeing.
With one in five adults experiencing a mental health challenge each year, we must all advocate for policies that help increase access to mental health care and reduce stigma surrounding mental health and substance use challenges.
Here are a few ways you can speak up for mental wellbeing:
10. Celebrate World Mental Health Day!
We can all celebrate World Mental Health Day by committing to making mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority. Let’s continue to take action toward improving the mental wellbeing of our communities, starting with ourselves. To celebrate today, consider:
Seeking more inspiration for ways to celebrate? Read our 25 Small, Powerful Ways to Take Action for Mental Health blog. And tag @MentalHealthFirstAidUSA when posting on Facebook and Instagram, and @MHFirstAidUSA when posting on Twitter.
If you enjoyed learning about mental wellbeing this October and want to get more involved, be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter and the MHFA Digest to get the latest MHFA blogs, news and updates delivered directly to your inbox.
Thank you for choosing to #BeTheDifference on this World Mental Health Day — and every day!