By: M. Dutra
Dealing with everyday problems such as stress, school workload, self-esteem issues, or even bullying are not easy; some of those things might make life harder to live by for some people, and these can even lead to a mental illness. We live in a society where having a mental issue such as anxiety and depression is becoming common between teens and young adults, and we frequently hear stories about teenagers just like us who decided to end their lives when most of them had a mental health issue. Just in America, every year 1 in 5 teenagers between ages 13 to 18 experience a mental health condition and nearly 90% of teenagers who decide to end their lives had an underlying mental issue. As previously mentioned, mental illnesses are becoming increasingly popular, so we need to be aware of the symptoms surrounding them, and if possible, improve them either by talking to someone or taking these steps below.
1. Practice thinking positively
It might be extremely hard for someone with mental illness to find something positive in any situation they go through, but once you start training your brain to find positive even in your worst situations, you will see how brighter life can be - it's all about perspective after all!
2. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. The better you sleep, the better your mood will be, and it is proven that you will be more prone to react to stressful situations with a more positive approach. Additionally, many researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to high rates of depression between high school and college students.
3. Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself from time to time improves your self-esteem, making you feel better about yourself and it relaxes you. Ways to take care of yourself include eating nutritious meals, getting enough sleep, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. Additionally, taking care about yourself also includes never trying to avoid your feelings by taking drugs, drinking alcohol, bringing other people down, etc. – this will only make you feel worse about yourself at the end. It's better for you to talk about them to someone (or even to yourself) than trying to avoid it.
4. Surround yourself with positivity
If you surround yourself with people that only bring negativity to your life and only make you feel bad about yourself, it will definitely worsen the negative state of mind that comes with mental health diseases, therefore having a support system such as family members and friends who want to help you and that care about you is essential when it comes to being mentally healthy.
5. Look for help
You won't be able to heal alone, reaching out for help is the best thing you can do. Make sure you ask for help to someone you feel comfortable talking about your feelings with, that respects your boundaries, and that you trust that won't expose your privacy to someone else; it can be a friend, parent, teacher, a therapist – it doesn’t matter. There are also national phone lines that give support and help to people thinking about ending their lives or with mental illnesses.
6. Don't give up
We often hear about people our age giving up and committing suicide – but we can't let that keep happening; it doesn’t have to end this way. Sometimes people may have been experiencing extremely negative thoughts and feeling awful about themselves for a long period of time, and they think that the only way to end this pain and suffering is by ending their lives. So, if you know someone who is in this situation or if you are in feeling like similar to that, always remember to never give up because things will get better even though they don't seem like they will, and this experience will only bring you wisdom, growth and strength.
Finally, if you know someone who needs help, make sure you are always supportive and positive towards them; never judge their feelings, respect their own space, and let them know they can count on you if they want to (but never force a conversation or tell the issue to someone else; respect their privacy) and that they are loved and appreciated by many. Still, regardless if you know someone who needs help or not, make sure you educate yourself about the issue to spread awareness, fight the common misconceptions, and help someone in need. Also, never force help on someone and never assume someone has a mental illness – talk to them about it and let them open up – don’t force boundaries and assume things, it is really easy to assume someone is mentally unhappy just because of a single attitude or conversation you had with the person.