It’s the season of giving!
Wondering what is on the wishlist of those in the mental health community that you could distribute to any and all that you meet?
It’s not a stocking stuffer or anything under the tree. It’s not necessarily material. Some of the most valuable gifts that keep on giving all year are things that you can do every single day for everyone your path may cross!
So, what are these magical things that cost you absolutely nothing but can make all the difference in the lives of those around you?
Be kind and considerate, always. You don’t necessarily know what the people around you are experiencing, nor how they feel or react to those experiences. Meet all people with a compassionate heart, and be that beacon of kindness that we all need.
Small ways to work on compassion include checking your frustrations or assumptions towards others, and working to eliminate harmful phrases from your vocabulary.
This should be obvious, but sometimes a reminder is needed: every person you meet is worthy of your respect. They are human beings and your equal, and should be treated as such. Really listen to what they’re telling you, and respect boundaries. Remember that every person is important.
Showing more respect for others includes avoiding gatekeeping or being dismissive of the needs and emotions of others. Remember that people are allowed to feel whatever they feel in any situation, and that it’s normal–and acceptable–for others to have a different experience than you.
Showing support to the people around you can be critical; you never know when someone just needs a little reminder that they are seen, heard, and appreciated. Showing support can be an extroverted thing, like supporting someone’s ideas or physical needs, or it can be more nuanced and rooted in emotional expression.
Showing support can look like acts of service for the people around you, such as carrying someone’s groceries or lending a hand with chores or childcare. It can also look like having heavy emotional conversations and being a listening ear.
Support and time go hand-in-hand but are not always a package deal. While often showing support can take time, sometimes it only entails the knowledge that you are there for them should they need you, rather than requiring any set time commitment.
Make time for the people around you. Make sure that they know that they are not an inconvenience for you and that you are available to them when they need you! This can look like a regular coffee date with a friend, a routine phone call with a loved one, or setting aside time for a coworker or even a stranger that needs a little extra support outside of a few words of affirmation.
Speak up for mental health! Advocate on all levels: in your personal life, at work, in your community, and with your vote. Mental health care and access can have such immense barriers, and the stigma surrounding mental illness only adds to this. By being a voice for mental health, you help normalize the conversation and raise awareness that this is a priority.
This can look like speaking out for a friend who others are calling a flake for missing plans, pushing for the normalization of mental health days in the workplace, supporting local mental health nonprofits, and voting for those who are prioritizing mental health as part of their platform.
Why It Matters
Caring about mental health is important for everyone, not just those living with diagnosed mental illness. If we all were to take these small steps every day, we could help make mental health a priority for all, rather than an afterthought.
Punk Rock Saves Lives is here to help! While we may be Denver, Colorado based, we activate nationwide. Keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities near you!