You know how we create a physical health workout plan to build muscle (what we desire) and burn fat (what we no longer want)? The fat didn’t appear overnight, although it may feel like it, so we must remain consistent in the process to actualize what we are hopeful for: a healthy body. When we keep our minds on this plan, we SEE physical results. However, when we want to build our mind muscles we must also create a mind (mental) health workout plan in order to “burn” the thoughts, feelings, memories, perceptions, ideologies, mindsets and exercise a stronger consciousness. We must also be consistent in the process to actualize what we are hopeful for: a healthy mind (mental state).
In order to be consistent in the process toward mental (healing) health, we must first START the process. We’ve all had experiences that have affected how we see ourselves in the world and we must first give ourselves permission to acknowledge the experiences contributing to adverse effects on our mental health. We should also consider the fact that some of us were born with DNA that causes adverse effects to our mental health. Whichever the case, remember you are not alone.
In order to erase the stigma behind addressing our mental health, the Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was proclaimed by the US House of Representatives in 2008. Along with a host of other mental health practitioners around the globe, the Minority Mental Health Project (visit our website for details www.mmhplou.org) is offering real solutions to the barriers of our mental health evolution (such as accessibility, affordability, and availability of culturally appropriate practitioners (I like to think of them as highly qualified mental health coaches). Now is the time to normalize seeking support with our mental health workout plans.
We must work to create environments that are judgment-free, compassionate, and mindful of others. We must first start with ourselves and in our homes by listening without judgment, being more accepting, understanding, and transparent. Being transparent humanizes the need for mental health support and further supports the fact that we are not alone in our experiences and there is nothing wrong with us because we have mental health needs.
Seeking support (treatment) for mental health needs (illnesses) leads to experiencing a better quality of life in the grand scheme of things. We must prioritize this act of self-love so that we can be our BEST for ourselves and in turn, the BEST version of ourselves for those around us. In order to prioritize my mental health I currently do some of the following things in rotation:
- listen to music that feeds me positive messages
- remind myself of who I am and who I want to become
- create/find/take in images that represent where I want to go
- take time to use my talents/gifts to make the world a better place
- surround myself with people who share the same values (while holding me accountable for my own growth)
- connect with organizations like Women of Intent founded by Vernice Mechel and Play Cousins Collective’s Soul Sisters Circle lead by Mahogany Livers
- create time to be with those that love me and hold space for me.
- GIVE MYSELF A HUG
So…..what are YOU going to add to your mental health workout plan to prioritize YOUR mental health? Two additional action steps that I’m planning to take in honor of Minority Mental Health Month is to create time for me to dream and visualize the BEST version of myself and reconnect with my therapist before next month’s entry to continue my inner work journey and evolution. I’m looking forward to hearing how we decide to honor Minority Mental Health Month! Post your pictures, ideas, and progress below! Feel free to use the hashtag #MMHP2021 in your social media posts and tag the Minority Mental Health Project (#MMHP) with your pictures/videos/posts sharing how you are prioritizing your mental health workout plan.
By Stephanie Jackson, M.Ed., M.A.
(AKA Queen Savannah Sonshine)