Things to Celebrate in April (in Relation to Mental Health Awareness)
Sometimes in life, it is easy to develop the mindset that we need to have a vacation, big milestone, or special holiday to give us a reason to celebrate. In reality, there are things worth celebrating every single day whether it be good health, bonds with family and friends, or even smaller successes associated with personal or professional growth.
For many, the year 2022 has already been full of ups and downs. However, despite the challenges associated with this year, there are still things to celebrate if you're willing to look for them. The month of April is full of special days meant to celebrate the importance of mental health. Consider taking the time to celebrate or observe some of the following events this month.
National Autism Awareness Month
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects the way some people learn, interact with the environment around them, and communicate with others. People can have varying levels of ASD, meaning it affects some worse than others. Autism is often identified at a young age and can impact the way a person learns and problem solves. They may engage in obsessive tendencies or frequently repeat certain behaviors. Some of the most common signs of autism include:
- Inattentive behavior
- Impulsive behavior
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Avoiding eye contact
- Repetitive movements
- Delays in learning and communication
Some people have more severe cases of autism than others and some are more capable of living independently. Just because someone has autism does not mean that they are not highly intelligent, creative, and capable of being productive members of society. Additionally, just because someone has autism doesn't mean that they don't deserve the same level of respect and dignity as anyone else.
Acknowledging April as National Autism Awareness Month is so important as it can lead to a better understanding of what autism is and build a greater sense of community support for these individuals and their families. The purpose of this month is also to help ensure that those with autism have the resources they need to live their lives to the fullest potential.
Stress Awareness Month
April is National Stress Awareness Month. It may seem strange that an entire month is dedicated to something like stress. After all, it is something we all experience at some point or another at different levels. However, not everyone is able to properly cope with stress in productive ways. Over time, this can lead to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, even substance use disorder. The purpose of Stress Awareness Month is to help promote further education about how to cope with stress. Some ideas you may consider trying include:
- Ensure you're taking care of your physical health by eating nutritious meals and exercising regularly
- Make sure to get enough sleep every night
- Consider speaking with a therapist
- Try yoga or another type of meditation
- Try getting your thoughts out onto paper through journaling
- Take breaks from technology whenever possible
- Focus on what you can control and learn to let go of what you can't
- Avoid drugs and alcohol, both of which can make stress worse
National Counseling Awareness Month
Although a lot has been done to remove the stigma surrounding going to counseling in the last decade, some people still view it in a negative light. The truth is that choosing to speak with a counselor is nothing to be ashamed of. Rather, it is a great first step to improve your mental health and begin living a happier, healthier life. You don't even have to have a mental health condition to benefit from doing this. Speaking with a counselor regularly can help you regulate your emotions and be better in tune with your moods, thoughts, and feelings.
National Day of Silence
This year the National Day of Silence falls on April 8th. The purpose of this day is to take the time to acknowledge the damaging effects of bullying and harassment in schools toward members of the LGBTQ+ community. People around the country and even other parts of the world will take a vow of silence on this day as a form of protesting what so many LGBTQ+ individuals have to endure daily simply because of how they identify themselves. This day is meant not only to raise awareness regarding the harassment that still exists toward this community but also to help begin an important dialogue about how schools and communities can work to be more inclusive and supportive.
There is always something to celebrate if we're willing to take the time to look for it. The month of April is dedicated to several very important causes related to mental health that are worth acknowledging. April is National Autism Awareness Month. The goal is to promote a greater understanding of what autism is and learn how to support these members of our community so they can live life to the fullest potential. April is also National Stress Awareness Month and National Counseling Awareness Month. Both of these initiatives are intended to help encourage everyone to take better care of their mental health, with counseling as one of the options to do that. Finally, the National Day of Silence on April 8th is intended to support the members of the LGBTQ+ community. If you're struggling with your mental health, our team at Achieve Medical Center can help. Call (619) 387-7752 today.