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Kickstart Mental Health Awareness Month With These Tips

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Communities of lower socioeconomic status or minorities are often left out of the conversation in regards to healthcare advances and ease of access to health care. Some minorities live in food deserts without options for fresh nutritious food, and coupled with a lack of access to preventative health support to deal with traumas and stress many are not able to care for themselves as they should. All of these factors are contributing factors to diminished mental health. 

Using this month to learn about the many causes of mental health inequities that affect minorities will help to bring awareness and understanding of how to bring changes to the unjust and unequal treatment of minorities in the health care system. Those who have an influence within the healthcare industry can be instrumental in increasing awareness of the issues surrounding minority health disparities.

The deaths of Chadwick Boseman and Natalie Desselle-Reid from colon cancer brought heightened awareness of the illnesses to the African American community.  Understanding the steps to start preventative care and finding out more about how these diseases can be prevented and caught before it is too late. Understanding that medical care and making a change to a more healthy lifestyle are the building blocks for better health. Physical and mental. States, communities, and civic leaders must also do their part by ensuring that citizens have access to education, nutritious affordable foods, trails, parks, and playgrounds for exercise and activities.

There are many ways that you can learn more about how to increase your awareness and start the journey to a better lifestyle. The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) theme for 2022 is Black Health and Wellness.  This theme showcases how Black people are making efforts to learn more about health and wellness and the activities and rituals that have been beneficial to our community.
Here is a shortlist of ways you can increase your awareness and jumpstart your lifestyle change:
Seek help from health professionals.
Address health issues when they arise. Do not wait and hope it will fix itself.
Ask Questions, and have a clear line of communication with your health provider. Share with your doctor, therapist, or advocate your thoughts and your concerns.
Create a care plan for yourself and stick to it.
Educate yourself on health issues that you may be predisposed to. Find out your family history of illness. Physical or mental.
Practice self-care, and if you are unsure of what self-care is, make a list of things that make you smile, and put your heart at peace. Take breaks and get sleep.
Your health is your wealth, mental health included. Remember this. Total wellness should be a goal for everyone.

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