In May, for Mental Health Awareness Month, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention worked with a variety of illustrators and content creators to create images related to the concept of having a #RealConvo.
Laura Jones is an illustrator and mental health advocate, with almost 62,000 followers on Instagram. For Suicide Prevention Awareness Month we asked Laura to share her thoughts, in her own words, about how important it is to reach out and have a #RealConvo.
Talking about mental health can often feel uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t feel difficult. I find it frustrating that having these conversations are not considered as “normal” as talking about your physical health, especially as bottling up how you’re feeling can affect your mental health in serious negative ways. It’s commonly recommended to rest and take time off in order to look after our physical health or to allow ourselves to physically heal, yet the same is often not said for your mental well-being. Often, when we think of “being healthy,” we actually only consider the physical aspects but our health and our well-being is about both body and mind, and if we’re talking about one, we should focus on the other, too.
We need to start having more open and meaningful conversations about our experiences with mental health, and the range of related challenges or illnesses. Mental health is not something negative, bad or abnormal; just like physical health, it is something we all have and need to look after and care for.
In normalizing these meaningful mental health conversations, we can help others feel less alone in their experiences, better inform ourselves and others about mental health, and recognize when those we love may need help and how we can best support them. This change all starts with having a #RealConvo.
Follow Laura’s Instagram to see more of her creative and inspiring original content from her “daily pops of positivity” — and be sure to follow AFSP on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so you don’t miss all the exciting things happening during National Suicide Prevention Week!
For further reading, check out AFSP’s #RealConvo Guides! Arranged in an easy-to-read, step-by-step format, these #RealConvo Guides cover the following topics:
- tips for starting and continuing a conversation about mental health
- how to respond if someone tells you they’re thinking about suicide
- strategies for reaching out for help when you need it
- how to talk to someone who’s lost a loved one to suicide