Let’s Talk About Youth and Mental Health

Written by Denise Webb and Raveena, YES! for Equity Youth Staff Members

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The Partnership For Southern Equity (PSE) and the YES! For Equity youth staff team is looking forward to putting together conversations, social media activities, and more! So, stay tuned.

What is mental health and why is it important?

Mental health is how we are feeling at any time. It is how we cope with situations and our emotions. It is human, and we connect through the power of our feelings. Taking care of our mental health is as important as our physical health. It nourishes our minds, our bodies, and our souls. It is loving our whole self and, by extension, our families, friends, and communities.

How to Take Care of Our Mental Health

Some practical ways to care for our mental health and live happier, healthier lives include practices such as meditation, journaling, talking to a friend or family member, exercising, being out in nature or practicing a hobby that brings you joy. For example, some people like to garden as a way of decompressing and connecting to nature. Others may have a song that cheers them up and some people express themselves through art. One way of decompressing is by giving and helping others. Many young people feel the need to feel make a positive difference in their communities and the world at large. Whether that means volunteering at our local food pantry, or putting together a meal for a friend. Research shows that these activities like being out in nature and exercising lead to an increase in a chemical called endorphins responsible for happiness.

In addition to taking care of your own mental health, supporting others is critical. This can mean different things in different situations, but empathy is key. It can be as simple as offering someone a listening ear or sharing a meal together. Building this connection with others is a powerful ingredient to our collective mental health.

Want to learn more? Here are a few resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Therapy for Black Girls

Melanin & Mental Health

Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation

Therapy for Black Men

Latinx Therapy

Asian, Pacific Islander, and South Asian American Therapist Directory

We look forward to continuing conversations on the importance of mental health to ourselves and our communities.