May doesn't just bring flowers from April flowers, it is the start of warm weather, the final passage into summer, and the last stretch of the school year. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month. With the end of the semester brings stress. So much stress that it causes people severe anxiety, from test to the thought of not getting the grade they want in their classes.
Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Lots of college students struggle with maintaining their mental health. And for good reason. Most traditional college students are full-time students, while also balancing a job, being involved in different extracurricular clubs, trying to stay healthy keep off any extra weight you've gained, and also trying to have a social life. It can be too much sometimes. Especially when it feels everything needs to happen all at once. Life can get overwhelming.
Even those who aren't in college struggle with their mental health. Millenials, especially women, are struggling. For women, this is caused by violent and abusive relationships and social media. It's hard not to compare the beautiful woman in the Instagram photo or celebrity with her handsome husband. We all have our insecurities and wish we could be this or that. We need to recognize that people go through things in their life that are hard. So being aware that everything is not okay is just the beginning.
Awareness is trying is understanding that something is off but trying to help them in whatever way they can.
You can't stop there. Some bad days where your mental health isn't doing so hot can stem from just having a stressful day. It can also be genetics or just personality traits. So instead of putting someone down for being a bit moody, try to understand where they are coming from.
There is a stigma surrounding mental health and the illnesses and although we may be aware, we need to do something more. You can try to understand what mental illness is by educating yourself, have an open conversation about what is going on, and know that the illness doesn't define them. It makes up who they are and who they are is perfect. The stigma that society creates causes a self-stigma that causes the person to doubt themselves and feel like they aren't enough.
Let them know that they are certainly enough. That no matter how they feel, there will always be someone there.
May is not the only month where we should be more aware of our own mental health. It should be a year-round awareness that we check every day. It's okay to take a "mental health day". Everyone needs one. Stop stigmatizing our well-being as a negative. But know that it is essential to how we live life.