I think internet holidays like “National Mental Health Day” are essential, but I want to celebrate the day after National Mental Health Day because it’s in the quiet, dark moments — when there’s no fanfare, pageantry or hashtag — when people suffer.
What’s National Mental Health Day All About?
I’m here for memes and tweets and inspirational photos shared by Instagram Growth Services that encourage everybody to seek help and live their fullest lives. But now what?
What do we do today, October 11th, when we return to our mobile devices, and the loneliness seeps back into our lives? Where do we go today if we’re feeling disconnected, depressed or, god forbid, suicidal?
Well, maybe we go back to our feeds and take advantage of all the mental health resources that were shared yesterday. Or perhaps we develop courage and reach out to our friends who said, hey, I’m here for you.
But what I fear is that National Mental Health Day is another collective moment where we think we’re helping but we’re not. Like when we put lead in milk and fed it to babies — or when we thought it was okay to cure a cold with cocaine — we’re using a device to address a problem that causes more harm than good.
What’s the Alternative?
I’m not saying a day of awareness is pointless. I’m just saying that maybe we ought to think a little harder about health outcomes before we jump on the internet — a failing social experiment that’s doing us more harm than good — and preach to no one in particular that “you matter” and “you should ask for help.”
Who are you talking to? Who do you think is listening? Aren’t you just talking to the vast tundra of your subconscious?
In answering those questions — and also reviewing your old Facebook posts, gaming history, YouTube posts, tweets, IG stories, snaps, WhatsApp messages, or even your old AOL history — you might find you’re talking to yourself about your well-being and asking for help while trying to help others.
How Do I Commit to Improved Mental Health?
So, if you are committed to National Mental Health Day, make it count. Put yourself first, take control of your time, and be your own best advocate. Stop talking to no one in particular on the internet and see a counselor, therapist, advisor, mentor, psychiatrist, or social worker. If you feel fine, great. Be a friend to someone in the real world who needs you.
Mental health improves and lives are saved because awareness turns to action. If you believe in National Mental Health Day, make every day — including the day after — a moment where you take a stand against the detachment and isolation that’s crept into our culture. And I think it starts by putting down your phone.