Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality
October 10 is World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme is: Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality! The pandemic has created new challenges for maintaining mental wellness and ongoing shortages in the behavioral health workforce make it difficult to meet the ongoing and increased need for mental health care. As we strive to make mental wellness and mental health care a reality for all, we can continue to support our traditional mental health care providers and highlight professionals not often included in workforce projections but who play important roles in the mental well-being of individuals, schools, and communities. We can all play a role in making mental health a reality for all.
Mental health, diversity, equity and inclusion are interconnected. A workforce with diverse backgrounds and identities results in better problem solving, productivity and adaptability, creativity, and innovation. Stressors at work such as lack of representation and opportunities, microaggressions, and unconscious bias impact mental health and psychological safety, which limit employee well-being, productivity, and motivation. On this World Mental Health Day, deepen the focus on equity and racial justice by supporting mental health efforts that are responsive to diverse backgrounds, cultures, and identities.
As non-clinical professionals, Peer Support Specialists are able to reach people in unique and exciting ways utilizing their life experiences as tools for the other person’s healing and journey. Peers meet the other person where they are at, without judgement, and offer a space of shared understanding and support. Peer Support Specialists can be individuals and/or family members of people with mental health, substance use, or other life experiences. On this World Mental Health Day, take a moment to learn more about Peer Support Specialists and where you might find some offering services in your community.
Students spend at least eight hours each day at their school campuses, so schools are unique and consistent places to think about meeting the mental health needs of students. An important part of providing mental health care for all is creating safe spaces where students can express their feelings and receive supports as needed. Educating school staff, students, and families about mental health and creating school-community partnerships are ways we can support the mental health of both students and staff. This can start by developing relationships with key community partners. On this World Mental Health Day, consider hosting a coffee chat virtually or in person to begin important school-community partnerships.
A key role of the prevention professional is to bring together the diverse agencies in a community to intervene when unhealthy behaviors exist that effect the overall wellness of those living and working there. The preventionist can identify, educate, and take action to reduce the risk of mental health disorders or optimize the well-being of the community. Although there are many who are called to the work of prevention, we are all responsible for the care and well-being of ourselves and others when it comes to addressing “mental health care for all”. On this World Mental Health Day, consider the prevention work you can do. Be a friend to someone experiencing a more stressful time than usual, volunteer at your child’s school, volunteer your time to efforts in the community that promote wellness and awareness, or share resources on social media.
As we focus on making mental health care a reality for all on this #worldmentalhealthday let’s expand our thinking about who can and how we support mental health. Let’s consider how we prepare organizations to enhance mental health within their workforce and provide non-stigmatizing support to individuals when they experience challenges. Let’s explore how schools can set the stage for mental wellness through nurturing relationships and developing skills for social and emotional intelligence. Let’s consider how we support healers from different cultural and faith groups and include these practices in person-centered planning. Let’s look to the wisdom and empathy that can be uniquely shared by those who have experienced mental health issues. The worldwide pandemic has heightened our awareness of the universal impact of mental health. We all need to play a role in making mental health a reality for all.
For more information or to contact us:
South Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center
South Southwest Prevention Technology Transfer Center