This month, Miracles Counseling Centers is joining the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Millions of Americans are currently living with a mental illness, and this number is growing. The sad reality is that many of these individuals do not receive the support they need due to stigma or a lack of understanding surrounding mental health, the resources available to them, and the importance of seeking help. Mental health is a huge part of our overall health, so we must take care of it! This is why it is so important that we take time this month to engage in intentional conversations about mental health, fight against stigma, and show our support for those in our lives who are struggling. We want to start by sharing information on the mental health resources available to you! That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the larger mental health advocacy groups out there and how they work to support mental health in our country.
Mental Health America (MHA)
Who They Are: Mental Health America is a national community-based nonprofit that is focused on promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all, early identification for those at risk, early identification & intervention for those at risk, and integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them, with recovery as the goal.
What They Do: MHA provides education and outreach to help Americans of all ages to better understand prevention, early identification, and intervention through access to online screening tools, information, and events. MHA collaborates with its over 200 affiliates in 41 states to bring information and referral, support groups, rehabilitation services, as well as socialization and housing services to those struggling with mental health issues and their loved ones in communities around the country. MHA also works with these affiliates to advance policy recommendations promoting mental health.
National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)
Who They Are: The National Alliance on Mental Health is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI started as a group of families around a kitchen table in 1979 and is now an alliance of more than 600 local Affiliates and 48 State Organizations who work in our communities to raise awareness and provide support and education to those in need.
What They Do: NAMI offers educational classes, training, and presentations on various mental health topics. They advocate for public policy changes in favor of mental health. The toll-free NAMI HelpLine is available to anyone in need of emotional health support. NAMI leads public events and activities to fight mental health stigma in communities across the nation. Their website has lots of information on mental health conditions and their appropriate treatments, as well as blog posts that share personal stories.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Who They Are: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a voluntary health organization that seeks to provide a national community for those affected by suicide in an effort to empower and advocate for them. AFSP’s mission is to save lives and bring hope to those in our country who have been impacted by suicide.
What They Do: The AFSP funds scientific research and advocates for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention. They also engage in efforts to educate the public about mental health and suicide prevention and provide support groups for survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide. Their website has information for individuals having suicidal thoughts, for those who have lost or are worried about someone, and those who have survived a suicide attempt.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
Who They Are: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America strives to improve the quality of life for individuals who struggle with anxiety and depression.
What They Do: The ADAA works to find new treatments in hopes of one day preventing and curing anxiety, depressive, obsessive-compulsive, and trauma-related disorders. They offer education on these disorders, including articles, webinars, and other resources, to help individuals better understand anxiety and depression. The ADAA also offers training to help turn their research findings into practice.
Child Mind Institute
Who They Are: The Child Mind Institute is the leading independent nonprofit in children’s mental health. They are dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders by giving them the help that they need.
What They Do: The Child Mind Institute holds workshops, talks, and conversations for parents and families. They also have a Family Resource Center on their website, with parenting guides, a symptom checker tool to inform parents about possible diagnoses, a resource finder, and an option to submit questions.
Website: https://childmind.org/Learn More
Resolutions are a thing of the past. No one keeps them, and we talk about them as if they are motivating but really they are a wasted effort if we are not fully taking stock of our entire selves. When we assess what changes we actually need to make, we are able to make the most out of efforts to increase our overall life happiness. Today we want to suggest an alternative…. completing your own life audit. Essentially what a life audit does is to help you take stock of where you currently stand in self-fulfillment in multiple areas of your life. This audit will explore multiple areas of your life and help you to determine improvements and changes each one of those areas can benefit from. A life audit is a great reflective exercise that helps you to see where you are doing well in life and acknowledging that.
Where do I start?
When you are ready to complete your own life audit, I would recommend breaking your life down into categories or segments of living. Your breakdown could take the form of a wheel such as this:
Other layouts can include columns, a box design, or just free writing! Remember, this is YOUR audit, so you can make it as simple or complex as you would like! Once you have your design, we want to begin by labeling the primary areas of your life. Below are a few example categories that you can use to get started:
- Physical Health
- Emotional Health
- Spiritual Health
- Occupational Health
- Community/Social Health
- Financial Health
- Recreational Health
Once you’ve chosen your categories, now is the time for self reflection. Beginning one section at a time, what are your initial thoughts? What are doing well in that area, and what goals do you still have? Put any and everything down about that category you can think of. It can also be helpful to decide how to quantify your level of satisfaction. Some people use a numerical scale, or even an alpha grading system (A, A-, B, B+, etc). If you find yourself struggling with how to determine your satisfaction in these categories, consider asking yourself the following:
- How is my Physical Strength, mobility, and energy in life?
- Job Satisfaction – does it match your personal values, do you feel challenged?
- Career Progress – are you where you believed you would be in your career at this stage in life?
- Net Worth – do I spend or save in the way I should? Should I be planning for a major life event such as retirement or a child going to college?
- Financial Knowledge – Do I understand my financial needs, now and in the future?
- Do I have the relationships with my family that I want?
- Am I committing enough time to friendships, or building friendships that I need?
- Do I have a connection with my community? Do you have an interest in giving back?
- How is my love life? Do I have a relationship with my partner that is enjoy?
- Is my Self-Image healthy and realistic? Do I appreciate myself and have a motivating internal narrative with myself?
- Are you participating as often as you would like in your faith?
- Habits, Fun & Leisure – What is there to add, take away, or change?
- Personal Growth – As you walk through your life, what more do you still want to learn, do, or experience?
Ok, So How did I do?
This is designed to be a simple exercise, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
This is the time to get real with yourself! Do not let yourself sugar coat or minimize your patterns, or real issues that need to be addressed. Same for allowing yourself to gloat when it is deserved. If you are especially accomplished in an area of your life compliment yourself on that!
Take your time
This is such a great opportunity to dive deep into your life, so take your time with this. After writing, set it down for a period, then come back to it later. You may find that you have new reflections to add in.
With this honesty can come heightened emotions. Let’s stay aware, that emotions cannot hurt you but they are purposeful in the way that motivate and provide feedback that change is necessary!
Completed! Now what?
Now you have the information about yourself. Some of it is filled with praise and accomplishments, but other parts are acknowledgements of needs to be addressed. This last step is going to help you to engage yourself intentionally for 2022
Let’s take ACTION! Taking you next moments to identify what you can do is your next step. However, there is a really important small step to take first. There are parts of our emotional unhappiness that we cannot change and you will have to be on the lookout for that. For example, a chronic health problem is most likely identified as a negative in a category. Since you are unable to change that, you will have to examine what elements of it you do have control over, such as an exercise regime or diet change which helps to alleviate some of your symptoms. Seeing elements of what we CAN do is an important process in this step. Once you understand this we can now formulate your action statements. Using concrete language which includes the what, where, when and who we write down specific steps to change. This helps you to form achievable and most importantly workable goals that actually give you specific steps to make lasting improvements on that category of your life.
Take the next step
Just get started! Choose the category that you feel most motivated to see a change in and begin with follow through with that action statement. You will notice an increase in overall happiness soon. To help yourself stay accountable, make a note on your calendar to check in on your progress quarterly throughout the year or speak with a therapist to see what is holding you back from attaining your goals. Those reviews are not meant to be opportunities to criticize what you haven’t done yet, but are chances to reinvigorate your intention for yourself for the year and to start again!Learn More