Written by QCMHA member, Curtis Kerrigan
Something that I have been trying to work on recently, is being more open, especially with the people around me. This can be done in many different ways and serves many different benefits. I think one thing that we can all agree on is that the last year hasn’t been easy. There have been many levels of stress that I think everyone has had to deal with. Since the pandemic, we are faced with many new challenges including online school, finding ways to get out of the house, and spending time with friends and family.
One thing that I have learned about mental health and especially mental health awareness is that most people deal with stress, anxiety, and other problems on a day-to-day basis, and the best way to deal with those problems is to talk about them. Many people may feel scared or embarrassed to talk about their issues, but the reality is that everyone deals with these problems. What I have learned and have been making a more conscious effort to do is normalize talking about my stress and what I am thinking about with the people around me. This has had many benefits that I otherwise would not have realized.
The benefits can firstly include just getting whatever it is off your chest that has been bothering you. This can be so refreshing and relaxing, even for minor issues. Also, you may not even realize that the people around you can help you. They can offer advice or even just comfort you in some way that can be very helpful. Another benefit that comes from this is that as I mentioned before, most people are also dealing with stress and anxiety, even if it is not the same things that you may be dealing with. By talking about your stresses and mental health, often it can encourage the people around you to feel more open about talking about their problems.
By opening up the conversation about mental health with your family and friends you are not only doing yourself a favour, but may also be helping the people around you more than you may realize. If everyone had more awareness for mental health we could really work together to get through different challenges we may be facing.
I want to leave you with a challenge. Even if it may not be a daily, or weekly thing, at least once a month try to talk about how you are feeling with the people around you. Make it a habit. It may be uncomfortable at first, but I can promise that you will feel so much better, and this will also open up conversations about how other people are feeling and what they are going through.