Mental Health Matters

Lauren Humphrey
Youth Catalyst Team


illustration of a collage of animated young people


Warning: This blog may include content that references self-harm, suicide, mental illness, and or violence. Please read at your discretion and if you feel at any point that the scenarios given bring up any past traumas that are too painful to relive, do not hesitate to stop reading. Your mental health is more important than the content of this page. Thank you for taking the time to engage with this post. 

Mental health matters. It matters today and everyday. What does filling your cup look like? Is it reading a book, seeking external therapy, taking a vacation, starting a new hobby, getting a facial, making sure to call a friend and give them words of encouragement, or taking a yoga class? The month of May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States since 1949. It was founded by the Mental Health America organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health) in order to “raise awareness and educate the public about mental illness, including conditions like depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. Mental Health Month aims to raise awareness regarding the trauma and societal impact that mental illness can have on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children, families, and communities as a whole.” 

Many of us have found ourselves in a position where we are unhappy. Many have found ourselves in positions where we feel lost and convinced that there’s no help… feeling like there is no way out of the mind that we are in. Some people choose to even take their lives due to the overwhelming sense of depression, anxiety, and isolation. Personally, I have felt one or more of these same feelings and they have led me to advocating for self care and holistic wellness. Taking care of ourselves is so important. We have to consider more ways to support one another in our work, lean on each other, and continue to build a world full of love and joy and peace and happiness.

You know, someone can have all of the money in the world; accumulating the cars, the house, the clothes, the friends, the family, the connections, the influence; everything we could possibly imagine that would “make us happy” and still fall short of true happiness then, begin to run out of fulfillment. This happens way too often, someone has all the tangible things but they have run out of what matters most -Life, Joy, Adventure. 

If someone could have all of their desires but still feel worthless, does that not go to show that there is something much deeper within us that needs to be accessed? Something within us that needs to be handled with extreme care? Our hearts are delicate packages being delivered from place to place each day we decide to take on the calling we have on Earth. 

It is apparent that the majority of the time, we do not know why we are where we are. We don’t really know how we got to where we are and we don’t know where we’re going. But one thing we should always be sure of is that we have a purpose in this world. We have a purpose in where we are and when we are there. No matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in, there is always another season waiting on the other side. 

Friends, the grass is greener where we water it. We can change homes, states, social groups, jobs, style, hair color, the food we eat, and the music we listen to. None of this matters if we are not watering the seeds that have been planted inside of us from the beginning of time. Remember, happiness is not a destination, it is a journey, each different and alike in its own right. We were all born with a unique purpose and, Mental Health Awareness Month is a time when we should honor our uniqueness. We should honor each other’s differences and see them in the light of beauty and acceptance. An article published by Harvard Health gave evidence to the use of gratitude in increasing positive psychological responses to emotions, focusing on more positive experiences, building healthy relationships, and improving overall health. The Latin root of gratitude, gratia, is defined as grace, graciousness, or gratefulness allowing an individual to see outside of themselves and understand that some things are externally inhibited, releasing the feeling of control. Anxiety and depression can stem from feeling ‘out of control’. A few ways to implement gratitude into your daily life can look like writing a thank you note to someone you appreciate, thanking someone mentally, keeping a gratitude journal, counting your blessings, prayer, and meditation. By practicing gratitude, an individual can gain a broader perspective on big scale versus small scale circumstances, in turn eliminating feelings of worry, depression, and anxiety. 

We all speak different languages and we come from different cultures, different ethnicities, and different religions, but one thing we all have in common is love. Love translates throughout the world and we should honor that by loving each other, talking to each other, extending grace, and reaching out more often. In modern-day we paint a picture of what happiness should look like but it truly comes from within. All you have to do is search inside yourself. If we learn anything this month, I hope it is just that. 

If you are ever in need of self-encouragement and don’t know where to start, try this daily affirmations and goal card that is proven to increase your gratitude and daily peace:

“I am so happy and grateful now that ______.” (Fill in the blank with 3-5 goals that you want to accomplish or have already achieved)
“I am _____.” (Fill the blank with 10-15 daily affirmations/attributes that you feel you embody)