Your SMILE Can Help Fight Mental Illness
By Kristina Denise
We often associate the Christmas holiday with red, green or gold, but there’s another not so cheerful color many connect with the holidays, I’m talking about the Holiday Blues. As much as we sing about good cheer, sometimes we don’t feel so cheerful. The holidays are a bit more stressful and hectic; we often set unrealistic expectations around shopping and events. It can’t always look like the movies, where you meet Mr. Right on Thanksgiving and he proposes on New Year’s Eve, right after you get a promotion, with a raise, that has you working in Italy! Sometimes it looks like too much eggnog, holiday shopping credit card bills and family fights over the dinner table! Also holidays can bring up memories of loved ones who are no longer in our lives.
Holidays can be especially hard on people who already have a mental health condition. According to a survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “64% of people with a diagnosed mental illness report that the holidays make their symptoms worse.” -There are a number of ways to beat the holiday blues; Dr. Ken Duckworth provides tips in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REOPKqTYKeo
I also discovered, one powerful way to help fight mental illness- SMILE, more to the point, Black Girls Smile, Inc. (http://blackgirlssmile.org/)
I recently joined the advisory board of Black Girls Smile, Inc. I’m happy to be a part of a program bringing mental health awareness to the forefront. You could say I’m ecstatic and all smiles.
In July Black Girls Smile, Inc. launched a multi-platform mental health advocacy campaign – “Together We Smile.” The purpose of “Together We Smile” was to unite communities during the month of July for Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, named in honor of Campbell, for her efforts to improve access to mental health treatment for people of color. The goal of ‘Together we Smile’ was to get the topic of mental wellness/health trending throughout major social media platforms. But we can’t stop there. According to Nami.org “1 in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year.” So please share these mental wellness resources this holiday season and throughout the New Year. Remember, sometimes healing starts with a SMILE.
- Be Educated: Become a trained crisis counselor through Black Girls Smile’s partnership with the Crisis Text Line! Email… http://fb.me/4YAlcxPhU
- Get involved: Stand with BGS and other (http://blackgirlssmile.org/links/outreach-and-activism-organizations/)) to be a positive force for change in the dialogue surrounding mental wellness and join
- Contribute:Donate (https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=21vw79wOptNVfzyAfTibsVoO1o8yj-HJnqUPjPs64qNJDNpbCveh5hIlzfa&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d64ad11bbf4d2a5a1a0d303a50933f9b2) to BGS and help raise funds to further the mission to promote programs, events and initiatives that help ensure we ALL SMILE!
- Focus: Here’s a list of African American Focused Mental Health Organizations http://blackgirlssmile.org/links/african-american-focus-mental-health-organizations/
If you or someone you know needs help with a mental illness or psychological trauma, please click here for a help guide. http://blackgirlssmile.org/links/helpline-and-support-lines/
You can follow @blackgirlssmile on Twitter and Instagram.
You can follow blogger Kristina Denise on CurvyGirlChronicles.net , where she blogs about body confidence, healthy curves and encourages women to show confidence using the hashtag #fortheloveofcurves.