How to be a mental health ally

Whether you think of yourself as a mental health ally or not, there are many ways we can care for our own mental health and that of others.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. To support others, it’s important to first take care of ourselves:

Practice self-care –

  • Develop and maintain healthy exercise, dietary, and sleep habits
  • Prioritize socializing with people and pets who make you happy
  • Pursue a personal passion or hobby outside of work
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Take time for relaxing pursuits like meditation, massage therapy, floating, or time spent in nature
  • Seek out professional counseling if you are struggling with depression, anxiety or other conditions that are keeping you from being your best self, or if you are dealing with difficult life stressors such as relationships, work, or grief

Be supportive of others –

  • Listen in a supportive and nonjudgmental way. Sometimes just being present is a huge comfort for someone who is not feeling well
  • Question and be aware of any potential personal assumptions and biases you may have regarding mental health issues
  • Be free with smiles and compliments for co-workers, family, and friends. And even someone you don’t know who may need that smile from a stranger
  • Speak up and challenge situations where language that may be considered disrespectful of people’s mental health struggles occur
  • Also, be mindful of comments that may come across as joking or belittling in social or professional situations – something you consider funny or innocuous may be experienced by another in a very different manner