Navigating Mental Disintegration: Prioritizing Mental Health

Published: April 19, 2024
Together, we can create an environment that prioritizes mental health and wellness. /

I’ve been feeling mentally disintegrated. I have a lot going on in my personal life, and it has left me feeling overwhelmed, tired, sad, mad and a whole range of emotions. Personally, the last four months have been awful — but I am on the road to healing. I’m grateful during this time for several things: friends I can call and count on, a wonderful therapist who enlightens me, and a bunch of books and resources that have shed some light and helped me find clarity. 

I’m not going to make this all about me because I know that I am not alone. In fact, 43.8 million American adults experience some sort of mental illness issues each year. That’s one in five of us if you do the math. 

Increasing Awareness 

Every May since 1949, Mental Health America has chosen a theme to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness in Americans’ lives, as well as to celebrate recovery from mental illness. For the past 20 years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has recognized Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) every May to increase awareness of the vital role that mental health plays in our overall health and well-being. This year’s theme is Where to Start: Mental Health in a Changing World.
Personally, this theme hits home because, when you are feeling “mentally disintegrated,” like I have been, it can be overwhelming with everything going on around you. I’m also grateful that, as a society, we’re becoming better at recognizing and discussing mental health. The tip of the iceberg is taking care of your own well-being.  

The significance of mental health has gained prominence, particularly for women. As the architects of both homes and careers, women often find themselves juggling multiple responsibilities, which makes it imperative to prioritize their mental well-being. 

Related: The Case for Women Mentoring Women

The Crucial Role of Mental Health 

The goal of this article is to explore the crucial role of mental health for women. I also want to discuss how we can foster a supportive community that can contribute to our overall well-being. Here are some thoughts: 

The Struggle for Balance: Women today face a unique set of challenges — from societal expectations, to workplace pressures, to balancing personal and professional lives. That cumulative stress can take a toll on our mental health, making it essential to recognize the signs and prioritize self-care. 

The Impact on Physical Health: The mind-body connection is undeniable. Thus, neglecting mental health can have profound consequences on physical well-being. Conditions such as anxiety and depression can manifest in various physical symptoms, a fact that highlights the unbreakable link between mental and physical health. 

Breaking the Stigma: Despite growing awareness, there remains a stigma surrounding mental-health issues. Women may hesitate to seek help due to societal expectations or fear of being judged. It is crucial to break down these barriers, encourage open conversations and create a culture that normalizes seeking support. 

A Sense of Belonging and Understanding 

Building a Supportive Community: Support from friends, family members and community can play a pivotal role in maintaining mental health. Women can create a network where they share experiences, challenges and coping mechanisms. This supportive community fosters a sense of belonging and understanding, reducing feelings of isolation. 

Empathy and Active Listening: One of the most powerful ways women can support each other is by practicing empathy and active listening. Taking the time to truly understand another woman’s struggles, without judgment, creates a safe space for expressing emotions. This act of compassion can make a significant difference in someone’s mental well-being. 

Encouraging Professional Help: Sometimes, support from friends and family may not be enough. In those cases, seeking professional help becomes essential. Encouraging women to reach out to mental-health professionals is crucial. Removing the stigma associated with therapy and counseling helps create a more inclusive and understanding environment. 

Self-Care as a Priority: Amid the myriad responsibilities they shoulder, women must prioritize self-care. Whether it’s taking a break, practicing mindfulness or engaging in hobbies, these moments contribute to mental well-being. Recognizing the importance of self-care helps women maintain a healthier balance in their lives.

Closing Thoughts

I’ve always been the person “there for” everybody, so I’d like to thank my close circle of friends who have been there for me over the last few months. Your support, love and nurturing have been incredible during some very dark days. 

As we dive into Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) in May, look for #MentalHealthMonday tips from WAVIT. The importance of mental health cannot be overstated. By acknowledging the unique challenges that we face, and by fostering a supportive community, we can create an environment where mental well-being is prioritized. In doing so, we pave the way for a healthier, happier future.
AV community: If you ever need to vent, talk, yell — whatever! — please feel free to reach out to me anytime. You are not alone. 

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