Breaking Barriers: Let’s Talk About Mental Health
We all have mental health, just like physical health, so it’s time to embrace it. Stop thinking of therapy as a reaction to challenges, instead view it as maintenance. Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s integral to help us function. We don’t wait until we are on the side of the road to get an oil change, we get one frequently because we know it will help the longevity and success of our car, so why don’t we treat our minds with the same care and attention? Mental health is something we should all be advocates for, regardless of if we are diagnosed with a mental health condition or not.
Talking About Mental Health Breaks Barriers
We need to stop underestimating the power of conversation. Openly discussing weight loss used to be an uncomfortable thing for people to do, but now we have a plethora of T.V. shows dedicated to it. Viewers receive inspiration from watching people be courageous enough to display their health on national television. Why can’t we take the same approach with mental health? Talking about your mental health journey can be a catalyst to help others embrace their own. In order to eradicate mental health stigma, we must first be open to acknowledging it. It may seem like a simple step, but people are afraid to do it.
Managing a mental illness can feel extremely lonely. Logically, you know that based on the statistics there are thousands of other people experiencing it as well, but you still feel alone. However, when we share our experiences, we open up the possibility to connect and realize our similarities. The beauty of mental illness being unseen to the public eye is the revealing of unexpected connections when we are vocal about our vulnerabilities. When I first opened up about my challenges, my friend shared that he also lives with depression and we exchanged coping mechanisms.
Honest discussions break barriers because it allows us to hear how others are taking control of their health and exposes us to resources we otherwise wouldn’t have been open to trying. Seeing our peers receive the help they deserve reduces the stigma around treatment. We are worthy of receiving support. We are worthy of joy. We are worthy of living an abundant life.
How Don’t Die Afraid is Making an Impact
Don’t Die Afraid is an inspirational platform that empowers individuals to realize that their circumstances don’t hinder their future, instead they are stepping stones to success to reveal how resilient a person truly is. I achieve this through motivational speeches, content creation, and mental health advocacy. I also host, Let’s Get Uncomfortable: Mental Health Makeover, an event that consist of a panel discussion about the various aspects of mental health, meditation, art therapy, and good vibes! I am passionate about creating welcoming environments that allow people to be confident in their journey and make meaningful connections.
Weekly on social media I publish a #MentalHealthCheckIn video asking my audience how their spirit is doing and sharing how mine is, which includes positive affirmations and how I’m overcoming obstacles for the week. Social media, especially Instagram is known as a highlight reel which frequently leaves out challenging moments so I make authenticity my main priority by keeping it real with my supporters. That realness allows them to feel safe. When people feel safe, they tell the truth which develops strong bonds. When people respond saying that they are having a rough week, others send them encouragement. I call supporters my Resilient Family because we have cultivated a loving support system that we cherish.
Ashley D. Freeman, MPH
Ashley is a mental health blogger and publisher of DontDieAfraid.com. She is a resiliency activator, motivational speaker, content creator and mental health aficionado from Queens, NY. Ashley earned a B.A. from Hofstra University in Broadcast Journalism as well as a Master of Public Health degree.
Learn more about Ashley and Dont Die Afraid at www.DontDieAfraid.com
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The addiction treatment approach at Recovery Ways is about Reclaiming Your Life. The program is tailored to meet the needs of the individual and provide each patient with the emotional, physical and spiritual tools to achieve a productive, joyful, and sober lifestyle. Our approach is a collaborative effort that empowers our patients to heal mentally and physically. We provide a nurturing environment that supports an individual’s unique healing process.All stories by: Recovery Ways