How to Prioritize your Mental Health

Katie Rafferty
Published on
May 21, 2021

Mental health can be a very touchy subject, especially for those who experience it every day. People have had a very difficult time opening up about their mental health, especially due to how normalized it is in the 21st century. However, this is not okay. In order to feel better about ourselves, we need someone to be able to listen to our feelings and sometimes we need that extra guidance to help us all get through our everyday lives.

How to reach out

No two people are the same, therefore, we all experience a different level of mental health issues, which is why it is so important to discuss it with others. Even if you don’t have a therapist, which unfortunately not many people have access to one, there are still many resources that are accessible to everyone.

In reality, we never know what someone is going through unless you ask. Therefore, we need to show the same kindness to everyone around us. If you are ever struggling with who to talk to, there are numerous hotlines that are accessible online.

I know it’s difficult to reach out, especially when you have no idea how to even reach out to one. But, this is where things will get easier. You noticing that there is something wrong is the first step of progress.

Reaching out can be hard, no matter how social you are, it still can be difficult for everyone. Getting help is nerve wracking, which is why so many people shut down and never end up reaching out and receiving the help they need.

However, as a community, we need to work together so we can find a way to help ourselves. We need to get better, no one deserves any ounce of sadness that they receive. Life is all about progress, therefore, we need to strive for greatness each and every single day.

The stigma around mental health

When people bring up mental health, most of our minds jump to just the general anxiety and depression. While these mental health diagnoses are extremely important, it shuts out all of the other diagnoses that others deal with everyday.

For example, I had a friend who was struggling with BPD (Bipolar Disorder) and no one truly knew what this meant. Most people's minds just thought “Oh, they have mood-swings”, however, there was much more to her disorder.

After being told that her diagnosis was no big deal she had an extremely difficult time reaching out for help, especially from her classmates. This made her shut down more in class and at home, especially. She felt that her diagnosis was a lost cause, which no one should ever have to go through.

We all deserve to receive the help we need, no matter what.

Mental health hospitals

Mental hospitals are also extremely helpful, yet many people's minds wander to the old days when the hospitals were labeled as “where psychopaths go” which made people extremely scared to reach out in fear that they would end up there.

From personal experience of being admitted to a mental hospital, it’s not as bad as people think. At first you will feel your stomach in a knot, especially if this is your first time being admitted into one, but then you realize that you will finally begin to feel better.

You have the opportunity to reach out and listen to those who go through the same struggles that you have experienced yourself. You meet kids/teens your age who meet together every day to discuss issues that they would like to focus on for the day. You begin to feel better about yourself each day because you know that you are finally making progress.

Don't put school over your well-being

Countless people also prioritize school over their own mental health, which isn’t okay in any circumstance. We need to learn to put ourselves first and seek the happiness of our personal life rather than ensuring our grades are at an 100% all of the time.

If we always continue to only focus on our school life, we will never find a way to love ourselves. We need time and if you are letting school take away the progress you have made. This is when you look for other resources of who to talk to about your school life.

Whether that’s a school counselor or an advisor or even a classmate, someone needs to know how you are feeling. If school is the realm of your mental health issues, you need to know that school will forever be there, but you will not be.

It is so important to know that you come first, no matter what anyone tells you, you are more important than a number in a gradebook.

Take care of yourself

Overall, it is crucial that you love yourself and find the positives in your life. Things will get better and easier one day. However, it’s up to you to want those positives in your life.

You need to recognize that things will get better, especially when you learn to love yourself and strive for greatness. Find people who will accept you for who you are and who will help outshine the best possible version of yourself that you can be.

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