Mental illness refers to behavioral, emotional, and psychological disorders ranging from mild to severe. Those with mild symptoms may not struggle to function personally, professionally, or socially. Their disease limits those with serious mental illness.
Mental illness is much more common than you may think. The National Alliance on Mental Illness report one in five American adults experiences mental illness in a year. That’s more than 14 million adults. Many of these people have co-occurring disorders such as substance use disorders or medical conditions, which contribute to mental health.
Examples of mental health disorders include common illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. Less common diagnoses include disruptive disorders like kleptomania, pyromania, and paranoid personality.
Although there are millions of Americans diagnosed with mental illness, only a tiny portion receive proper treatment. When a mental health disorder goes untreated, symptoms can worsen and interfere with all areas of life.
For this reason, and many more, bringing awareness about mental illness and the treatments available that can improve symptoms and help someone live a healthy, happy personal, professional, and social life.
January, Mental Wellness Month, is dedicated to breaking the stigma associated with mental illness.
Celebrate Mental Wellness Month
January is National Mental Wellness Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to mental health disorders, break the stigma, and encourage anyone to seek help. Blue Monday is a day during Mental Wellness Month, usually the third Monday in January. The holidays are over, and many people start to realize the consequences of their actions when caught up in the spirit of the season. Credit card bills, weight gain, and seasonal depression are associated with Blue Monday.
It is reportedly the saddest day of the year. But it doesn’t have to be!
This year, make Blue Monday and the rest of the month a celebration in honor of mental wellness. Below are 21 ways to make this happen.
10 Personal Ways to Celebrate
One person can make a difference. Your words and actions are powerful, and if they reach even one person who struggles with mental illness, you’ve won. Below are some examples of how you can celebrate Mental Wellness Month even if no one else is celebrating.
1. Start a Conversation with someone about mental health to break the stigma of seeking treatment. Spread the truth about who and why people experience mental illness.
2. Create a live video on social media sharing information about Mental Wellness Month. Try to make it go viral.
3. Volunteer at your local mental health center. Other volunteering ideas include shelters, libraries, and food banks.
4. Practice self-care. You can’t truly promote mental wellness unless you prioritize your mental health. Get a massage, meet with a counselor, take naps, and find other ways to love yourself.
5. Start a gratitude journal where you write at least five things you are thankful for daily.
6. Learn a new hobby, one that distracts you from daily stressors and makes you happy.
7. Join or start a mental health wristband challenge where you, and others you inspire, wear the bands all month long.
8. Join or start a social media group for mental health awareness.
9. Host a fundraiser to raise money and awareness for mental wellness.
10. Read a book to an elementary classroom. There are wonderful books on mental health written for every age group, even picture books for early readers. Connect with a local elementary teacher and volunteer to read a children’s book to the class. It is never too early to talk to children about emotions.
11. Wear yellow (or green, pink, purples, etc.) on Blue Monday.
Professional Ways to Celebrate
You spend much of your day at work, where the environment can positively or negatively influence your mental health and that of your coworkers. This year, encourage your workplace to celebrate Mental Wellness month. Activities can range from short and simple to month-long campaigns. Here are some examples:
12. Compete as a team in a charitable event on behalf of mental health awareness. Fun runs, color runs, and half marathons are a few common events that take place during awareness months. Depending on your area, there may be other events you can join as a team. If there aren’t any, you and your colleagues may want to start one.
13. Film a short video about mental wellness in the workplace and post it to a social media platform.
14. Volunteer as a group at the local mental health center. Counselors and therapists must take care of their mental health, just as they instruct their clients. Too often, they put their needs aside to help others. You and your team can find ways to boost their mood for a day.
15. Sponsor a billboard or an advertising campaign on behalf of your company to bring mental health awareness to the community.
16. Schedule self-care appointments as a group. Ideas include facials, manicures, pedicures, chair massages, movie nights, cooking classes, yoga, or paint nights.
17. Start a secret wellness exchange, resembling secret Santa or secret sister activities. You draw names, keep the name you drew a secret, and do nice things for that person. One day you may buy a gift. Another day you may have their favorite coffee waiting on their desk. Even secretly helping them on work projects can feel rewarding. This activity may inspire you to start random acts of kindness campaign.
18. Create posters, flyers, and other literature to share with the public.
19. Sponsor a concert or play in the community.
20. Listen to a podcast on mental wellness in the workplace.
21. Create a new rule that supports mental wellness in the workplace and join your local and state politicians to get it passed.
There are plenty of ways to celebrate Mental Wellness Month in January.Don’t let these ideas limit you. Use your talents and strengths, along with your friends, family, and coworkers, to make a difference.