The Importance of Mental Health Awareness Month

The Importance of Mental Health Awareness Month

By: Natalia Garcia Luna

Hey everyone! I hope you have had an excellent week. This week’s post will be different to any other post we have done before. Since it is Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to speak about its importance. 

Mental Health Awareness Month has been an annual tradition since 1949. Every year, May has been used to spread awareness on the importance of checking on our loved ones and ourselves about our mental health. This month is also a big opportunity to teach the public about the seriousness of this topic. People can be taught about things such as the warning signs of suicide or how the media can affect the mental health of younger children. People can also be guided on resources that can help them or their loved ones with their mental health. 

The public is taught what good mental health should look like. It should be the state of successful performance of mental function that results in productive activities. People with good mental health also are successful in maintaining healthy relationships and having the ability to adapt to change and challenges. 

On the other hand, the public also learns about different mental disorders. “Mental disorders are health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, and/or behavior that are associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.” These are among the most common causes of disability. An estimated 43.6 Million (18.1%) of U.S. adults suffer from any mental illness and 9.8 Million (4.2%) suffer from a seriously debilitating mental illness. This also makes suicide the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. 

Mental health and physical health are like yin and yang. They both need to be healthy to work. If you have poor mental health, then you won’t have good physical health. Illnesses like depression can affect this relationship. A bad mental health can result in physical problems like heart disease. 

During what is left of May, I would like to encourage you to read any of our previous articles and share your favorite post to someone you care about. Encourage them to learn more about their mental health and its importance. Always remember to think positive and never let negative thoughts ruin your day. Try to live each day differently as if it is your first ever day on Earth, not your last. Each day has a new beginning. Cherish it. 

If you haven’t already, make sure to fill out our survey and tell us what your favorite thing about this project has been? No matter how long or how short, we would love to hear back from you!

Source: https://www.bost.org/the-importance-of-mental-health-awareness-month/

How Stress Affects Our Bodies

How Stress Affects Our Bodies

By: Natalia Garcia Luna

Hey everyone! I hope you’ve had a great weekend. Happy Mental Health Awareness Month! Today I’m going to speak about a topic very common to us: stress! Many students, including myself, are trying to do some last-minute cramming before finals, but maybe stress is keeping you from achieving that. Stress isn’t something that just affects the mind, it also affects the rest of our body. Personally, when I get stressed, my stomach feels different, but everyone gets different symptoms! 

(Always remember we are not medical professionals and never try to self-diagnose based on what you read on the internet)

Stress can be divided in two: short-term and long-term. 

Short-term stress can occur when you get shocking news or when you are about to go into an interview. This type of stress can have an effect on your heart. Your heart rate and pressure can go up, but most people are able to withstand this. 

Long-term stress is the type of stress that continues for a period of months or even years. The hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and epinephrine affect many of our organ systems when we are stressed. 

  • Digestive system – Our digestive tracts are filled with nerve endings and immune cells, which are affected by the stress hormones previously stated. Stress can cause us to have acid reflux and present symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. You might also be prone to get many “butterflies” in your stomach as well. 
  • Immune system – Being very stressed can cause our immune system to weaken. This is why we most likely become sick when we have to work a lot. 
  • Nervous system – People with PTSD show more activity in the amygdala, a region in the brain associated with fear and emotion. 
  • Inflammation around the body that can lead to heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and even pain. 

Don’t let this post scare you! Stress is very common and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Because it is Mental Health Awareness Month, we invite you to share what your favorite ways to de-stress are. We would love to hear back! Also, be sure to check out our podcast in the home page of the blog where we talk about similar topics. Also be sure to fill out our survey available on our instagram page bio! Stay tuned for the next post!

Sources: https://www.everydayhealth.com/stress/guide/effects-on-body/

Supporting A Loved One Going Through Difficult Situations

Supporting A Loved One Going Through Difficult Situations

By: Natalia Garcia Luna

Hey everyone! I hope you’ve had an excellent week. Today, I will be talking about supporting a friend or family member who is going through hard times. When we go through hard times, we always feel safer when we can trust some friends. Sometimes, we might not even know that our loved ones are going through hardships, but it is important to show that you can be trusted. If you are aware that there is an issue in a loved one’s life, it is important to act fast and not wait. When you need to talk to someone about their mental health, there are a few steps you should follow. 

  1. Try to set time aside with no distractions so your loved one can feel like they have a non-judgmental place where they can express themselves and their concerns. 
  2. Do not interrupt when they are speaking. Let them share as much or as little as they’d like. Do not pressure them into speaking about something they are not ready to speak about. 
  3. Do not try to diagnose or tell them they are wrong. They are at their most vulnerable state and do not need judgment from someone who is not specialized in mental health. Do not try to make assumptions or diagnoses about them. 
  4. Try to keep the questions open-ended and keep your language very neutral. Never pressure your loved one to answer questions they are not ready to answer.
  5. Some things you can say instead of “calm down” are: 
    1. I’m here for you 
    2. How can I help? 
    3. You are safe here with me 
    4. I am here to listen
    5. Take your time 
    6. It’s okay 
    7. Or say nothing at all!
  6. Give them tips on de-stressing and distracting the mind. Some of these tips can include: 
    1. Working out
    2. Adapting a healthy diet 
    3. Reading a new book 
  7. Always listen carefully to what they tell you. Demonstrate that you understand what they are telling you, even if you don’t agree. 
  8. Offer them help in seeking professional support and provide information on ways to do this. You can also help them talk to another family member or friend, but steer away from taking control and making decisions for them. 
  9. Always be aware of your limits. If you believe they are in immediate danger or they have injuries that need medical attention, you need to take action to make sure they are safe.
  10. Ask what you can do to help.
  11. Avoid confrontation. 

Always remember that people won’t always want to talk to you because of how hard it is, so you should not take this personally. 

If a loved one tells you they feel they are feeling suicidal, you should encourage them to seek immediate help. On December 13, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission approved the plan for a 3-digit suicide prevention number similar to 911 starting in 2022. The number will be 988. But for now, many hotlines are available, such as 1-800-273-TALK. 

Always know that if you need someone to talk to, you can contact us! Even though we are not medical professionals, we can always be there to listen. 

Sources:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/supporting-someone-mental-health-problem

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help

Color Psychology

Color Psychology

By: Natalia Garcia Luna

Believe it or not, color has a huge effect on us. This phenomenon, color psychology, is based on the mental and emotional effects colors have on sighted people in all facets of life. For example, sometimes you might feel happy when you see green mountains and clear blue skies, but sad when you see dark rainy skies and puddles everywhere. Most of us know to differentiate colors between warms and cools. These can spark different emotions in people. Restaurants tend to use warm colors because they are often associated with food. Some hospitals use cool colors, like blues and greens, to promote calmness or faster healing. People that work in marketing often spend many years and money researching the effects that color psychology can have on people. They use colors in an attempt to make their audience associate the colors with hunger, positivity, or calmness. Not all colors have the same effect, but they all play a big part in our lives. 

Image by SimpleSite

Base Colors

White

  • Purity
  • Cleanliness
  • Neutrality
  • Innocence
  • New beginnings

Black 

  • Power 
  • Evil 
  • Death 
  • Strength 
  • Discipline 

Brown (Mix of all colors) 

  • Reliability 
  • Friendship 
  • Security 
  • Natural 

Warm colors

Red

  • Love
  • Comfort 
  • Energy
  • Excitement 
  • Intensity 
  • Passion

Orange

  • Happy 
  • Enthusiasm 
  • Sophistication 
  • Change 
  • Warmth 
  • Cheerfulness
  • Adventure

Yellow

  • Laughter
  • Optimism 
  • Hunger
  • Cheery
  • Intensity

Pink

  • Gentle
  • Love
  • Calming 
  • Soft 
  • Kind

Cool Colors

Green 

  • Natural 
  • Growth 
  • Health 
  • Tranquility 
  • Harmony 

Blue 

  • Calmness
  • Serenity 
  • Cold 
  • Truth
  • Wisdom  

Purple

  • Royalty
  • Sophistication 
  • Exotic
  • Spiritual 
  • Respect 
  • Mystery  

If we relate this with the past few posts, blue would work best with reading comprehension and concentration because of its cool tones. But when it comes to memorization and association, reds and yellows tend to stimulate the mind better. 

When it comes to ourselves and our mental healths, colors can change our moods, levels of anxiety, or our perceptions of certain situations. We can use colors for different situations. We can use purples to enhance our creativity when we tell stories; blues and greens can be used when we need to relax and de-stress; oranges and yellows are used when we stimulate our appetites; and reds are used to inspire passion or energy, like when we workout. Whatever the situation, colors will always have a subconscious effect on us. 

Sources:

Color Psychology: The Emotional Effects of Colors

https://deserthopetreatment.com/addiction-treatment/psychology/color-theory/

Why Did I Start?

Why Did I Start?

By: Natalia Garcia

Hey everyone! I hope everyone’s had a great day. Today, I will be talking about why I decided to start this project. 2020 was an unusual year for all of us. Earthquakes here in Puerto Rico and a whole pandemic! During the quarantine, I had experienced some negative situations. I felt alone and confused. But I then started to turn a few negatives into positives. Being stuck at home meant having a certain isolation from those who you would spend everyday with. At first, I was confused as to why some relationships didn’t feel the same as they did in school. I then decided to have a positive mindset and stay with those who were truly there for me. Second, trying to adapt to a new way of learning used to be very hard for me, distractions everywhere! That was until I put effort into finding my preferred way of studying and how to motivate myself to start my homework. Third, sometimes I felt like I had no one to talk to about personal issues and feelings about all those changes in my life. Boy was I wrong! I was able to open up to my family members and some friends about my feelings and I realized that they would always be there for me. 

But why did I start this project? Ever since I found out how to have a positive mindset, I want to share the way with the world! I have seen how many teenagers feel alone or like they have no one to talk to. I want this platform to feel like a safe place to speak about your feelings and know that someone is listening. I have even included the team’s contact info just in case you want to speak to any of us in private. We want to be someone you can trust. Having someone to talk to that you can trust is the first step to having a positive mindset. You start to feel relieved and happy. Then, you start to have a different view of life and you want to share it with the world. In this whole process, I have also become closer to my faith, which has allowed me to be more positive. The most important thing I have learned is that any negative situation doesn’t define me and I won’t let it hold me down. I hope you stay tuned for what we have in store for you!