Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949. It was started by the Mental Health America organization with the purpose of raising awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses. Regardless of where you are though, we can all benefit from taking time to focus on mental health issues.

This year’s theme is Break the Stigma. As much as there has been progress in educating the public on mental health, a lot of stigma still accompanies the subject. Most people wouldn’t be willing to admit they have mental health problems. This is because society regards them as non-issues/ embarrassing. As such, people suffer in silence or commit suicide.


In African societies mental health problems are regarded as ‘normal stress’, witchcraft or a part of one’s personality. Going to see a psychiatrist or therapist attracts stigma as one is considered to be running mad. Yet the increasing pressures of modern life can’t be ignored. We need to accept that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

How can you improve your mental health? If you suspect you might be going through depression don’t dismiss it. Admit there’s a problem then proceed to seek help from a qualified professional.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right, exercising, getting adequate rest and carving out time to do activities you love.

The biggest fights are in the mind. Thus you need to fight off negative thoughts as soon as they come. Don’t let them linger. Social media has a way of making us feel inadequate as compared to others, but celebrating our achievements keeps self-esteem up.

When going through low moments it’s tempting to isolate ourselves from others so as to not be a burden to them. Loneliness especially during hard times is detrimental to mental health. If you can’t be with loved ones physically, reach out on a phone call or social media chat. If you can find a group activity that you enjoy, join it and make new friends.


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