Featured Artwork: Folio Illustration Agency
Mental health is a vital topic to divert our attention to. It is not only something important to discuss but to replenish and prioritize. A mental health campaign was run by Sanjana Karthik through BC Youth Council — she partnered alongside organizations such as Reclamation Magazine, FCSS-FESC, Fill Your Jar, Operation Med School, Learning Bridge, Wish Youth Network Society, Youth in BC, Face of Today, and many more passionate advocates. At the beginning of April 2020, these organizations provided their viewers with mental health packages prepared by Sanjana Karthik. These packages stressed on the importance of goals and gratitude journaling, receiving external support, and many more methods of replenishing your mind and body. Now, every two weeks they will be hosting a mental health workshop, with each guest speaker providing insight from their personal experiences. Together, these youth organizations are “starting the conversation”, removing the stigma, and supporting their community during this difficult time.
As youth themselves, they can often be victims of agony that is derived from poor mental health. They, like most people, are continuing on their path to healing themselves, while supporting those who are on a similar path as them. As Riddi Dhanik, one of their campaign supporters eloquently phrased it, “I am out here aiming to heal the world while I am still healing, and nevertheless learning more about myself.”
It is often easy to get persuaded by external circumstances or stuck on the hamster wheel that is life. There will always be other commitments that can hinder one’s plans, but we must make our mental health a priority, and a component of our schedules. It is just as essential as one’s physical health. As Youth in BC phrased it, “Mental health is a priority. Your happiness is essential. Your self-care is a necessity. It’s easy to forget these three points in our lives as we have other commitments and such.”
In order to take care of one’s mental health, one must seek external support, and learn to generate happiness and feel sustained on their own energy. As advocated by the campaign leader, Sanjana Karthik, there are various ways to generate one’s own happiness. These methods will be of value in allowing one to be self-sustained on their energy and to not be a victim of their circumstances. Some practices include gratitude journaling, goal journaling, and reflecting on the day. Other methods involve mindfulness exercises, practicing forgiveness, being authentic to the person one is, and presenting oneself by making connections with the outside world. These practices offer insight on methods to self sustain one’s own energy and replenish one’s mind and body so that they can feel confident to present themselves to the world.
Another way to prioritize one’s mental health would involve receiving external medical or professional support. Receiving external support helps with this journey, similarly to Physical Education teachers and gym instructors supporting people with their physical health.
Reclamation Magazine points out that “knowledge is everything when a topic such as this is recognized and not shunned from a conversation — it results in a ripple effect of acceptance and acknowledgment.” Hence, one must not permit stigma or fear of judgment to cloud their vision as they address their mental health.
Anshu Stephen quotes Lisa Olivera as she shares her perspective of utilizing medical resources. “ Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you, doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone.” This quote illustrates the importance of seeking support. While it is important to be independent and learn to resolve conflict, it is not something that needs to be done alone. Seeking support is not the equivalent of a weak or needy person. Everyone is on their journey towards improvement. By receiving external support one is discerning the root cause of their problems, and preventing it from further manifestation. One is working towards a better version of themself, and liberating themself from their demons, and that involves strength and courage. Whether it is a small or a large issue, it is equally valued and must be resolved. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community of support to raise one’s spirit, and liberate oneself.
The mental health campaign members are grateful to be part of this community of support and hope their endeavors have communicated the importance of mental health and its prioritization. Wish Youth Network Society and FCSS-FESC conclude with the importance of being patient with yourself throughout this journey of improvement. It is important to take care of your mental health and know your boundaries, to know when to take a break, or forgive yourself for something that is out of your control. Above all, we need to be patient with ourselves when it comes to maintaining positive mental health. It is a constant journey that isn’t easy by any means, but we must keep fighting for the life we deserve. Surround yourself with good people, practice gratitude, and never be afraid to ask for help.