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4 Things I Did During Minority Mental Health Month

Did you know that July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month?

July being minority mental health month always reminds me of college. I was supposed to be a psych major in college (I actually graduated with a minor it it 3 credits short of the major because of a mix up—but that’s a story for another time). Still, years later, one of the classes that has always stuck with me was the discussion we had on barriers to access treatment.

Mental Health doesn’t discriminate BUT like many things the system that it’s operating in is. Beyond personal barriers and cultural barriers there can be real systemic difficulties for minorities in accessing the mental health care. In 2008, Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was started to help shed light on this intersection and work to address some of these barriers.

This Minority Mental Health month comes at a time that is unlike anything many of us have lived through before. Maybe you’ve felt it too, but the combination of global pandemic and social reckoning have unearthed so many emotions and I knew that it was best to lean in to them rather than away from them. In doing so, here are the 4 things I’ve done during this Minority Mental Health Month to put myself first.

two people sit across a table from one another you only see their arms both are people of color. They're both holding green coffee cups. inside the steam from the coffee cup says July is minority mental health month.

1. Got serious about my therapist search

As someone who deeply believes that if it is an option for you, we all could use a therapist it’s been an interesting journey to finding one for myself. I have been the person who looks when things have already started to feel out of control and then stops when I feel like I’ve regained my footing which has resulted in a lot of starts & stops in the process. While I haven’t found an exact match just yet; I am much closer now than before and that feels really good.

2. Loaded up on my favorite candle

Is self-care just candles and bubble baths? Hard no. For me the real self-care has happened in the conversations with myself when I’ve had to admit that I was the one standing in my way. That being said, there is something relaxing about finding a scent that calms you and centers you and having it on hand. For me that the Bath & Body Works Renew & Refresh candle, it’s only sold during the spring usually, so when I saw someone reselling theirs on an app I stocked up. Now I have some spares for my spares and I don’t have to worry about burning through them too quickly.

3. Pre-Bed Brain Drain

I am the person that when I first lay down at the end of the night my brain immediately goes to everything I have to get done, what’s coming next, and the occasional remember what awkward thing you did? It makes it hard to relax and it really makes it hard to sleep. Now after my one question a day journal, on days when I need it, I brain drain. I grab a notebook or open my notes and just word vomit on the page whatever comes up for me. Afterwards, I feel better and it’s easier to relax into sleep.

4. Became a plant momma

With so much time at home and particularly in my room it was feeling a bit lifeless. Back in May/June I occasionally picked up some flowers for myself and loved how they brightened up the space. This month, I took the full plunge and got my first plant. I found a beautiful hoya carnosa at Vault + Vine Co here in Philadelphia. Just adding that small big of greenery has helped bring some life into my space. I’m already looking for my next plant so if you have any recommendations (must be furbaby friendly) let me know.

Life is tough and mental health matters. Remember to do what you need to for you; whether that’s the small stocking up of your favorite candle or the bigger, more time consuming process of finding a therapist that will work for you.

Here are some resources if you need them.
-From the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/minority-mental-health-resources
-National Suicide Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
-Trans Life Line: 1-877-565-8860
-National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline: 1-800-950-6264
-National Alliance on Mental Illness Crisis Textline: text “NAMI” to 741741

xx, Victoria Ellyse