World Mental Health Day 2020 feels like the most significant version of this day yet. The months of loss and isolation have affected all of us differently and prioritizing mental health has never been more important than it is now.
Mental health pertains to
resilience and our ability to meet life’s challenges in a manner that enhances
our chances at mastery of situations and
adaptation to them. Just like physical health,
mental health requires activities that promote wellness, flexibility and
Mental illness describes the many afflictions
that can affect our thoughts and mood. These
illnesses, in turn, affect our emotional state and sense of well-being. As with physical illnesses, mental illness can have
a significant impact on our ability to reach personal goals in our work, education
At 14, a boy, so distressed by incessant bullying, took his own life. He left a note for his family and friends, reminding people how important it is to reach beyond labeling and intolerance.
At 14, a girl hanged herself; she looked for all intents and purposes to be a normal teen, active, involved, successful in school, but quietly feeling alone and hopeless.
At 13, another girl attempted suicide numerous times and then grew determined and leapt to her death; although she often seemed happy, in private she fought her own demons.
These youths, whose stories have been changed to protect families, came from different regions, but in many respects they all are “our children”—and we need to learn from their acts of desperation.
Earlier this month, organizations across the country designated a special day for children facing mental-health issues, with awareness-focused events promoting positive mental health for children and young adults under the theme “Listen, don’t label … ask, don’t fear.”
That’s a powerful—and very needed—message. As a professional social worker, I’ve seen the need for that message over and over …
Parenting a child with mental-health issues can be challenging, demanding, and exhausting. Parenting a child you know is struggling with a mental-health issue that you have no idea how to address is heartbreaking.