By Labiba Manzur (YES 2019-20, Bangladesh, hosted by AFS-USA in Portland, OR)
Our mental health encompasses our psychological, emotional and social well-being. This means it impacts how we feel, think and behave each day. Our mental health also contributes to our decision making process, how we cope with stress, and how we relate to others in our lives.
Emotional and mental health is important because it’s a vital part of your life and impacts your thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Being healthy emotionally can promote productivity and effectiveness in activities like work, school or caregiving. It plays an important part in the health of your relationships and allows you to adapt to changes in your life and cope with adversity.
Therefore, it was an absolute pleasure to attend the Youth Mental Health Forum recently along with the honorable Senator Ron Wyden and Commissioner Dr. Sharon E. Meieran. I believe that this is an issue that should be discussed more often to combat the stigma around mental health illnesses and having the honor to take part in an event like this has been an eye-opening experience for me. I've learned so much from many different people that have gone through a number of different experiences in life.
I am so thankful to everyone who spoke up about their experiences and I was really inspired by everything that they shared during the conference. I have learned so much from this conference; including how to get help and be a helper to anyone struggling with a mental health issue.
It is important to know that issues related to mental health can impact different people in different ways. If you start to see changes in your overall happiness and relationships, there are always ways to get the support you want. Here are some ways you can get help:
Connect with other individuals, friends and family — Reaching out and opening up to other people in your life can help provide emotional support.
Learn more about mental health — There are many resources you can turn to for learning more about emotional and mental health. Some examples include Psychology Today, National Institute of Mental Health, and Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Talk to a professional — If you start to feel like your emotional health is starting to impact you, it may be time to reach out for extra support. With Doctor On Demand, you can see a psychologist or psychiatrist and find the personalized support you want.
I am really hoping to go back to Bangladesh and work on creating awareness and building a safe environment for people that really need support with a mental health issue, but somehow are unable to. I truly wish to give back to my community by engaging in a lot more activities like this one and hopefully, someday soon, I will make a difference.