Letter to the Editor: Submitted by Mark Jacobson

To the Editor:

There are five reasons to talk about mental health:

• To Reduce The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health: One of the biggest obstacles to mental health treatment is the stigma that surrounds it. Stigma can lead to shame, fear and discrimination, which can prevent people from seeking help when they need it most. Talking openly and honestly about mental health can help reduce the stigma and create a more supportive environment for people who are struggling. In addition, by sharing our experiences and encouraging others to do the same, we can help break down the barriers preventing people from seeking help.
• To Improve Understanding And Empathy: Many people who have not experienced mental health challenges may not fully understand what others are going through. By having conversations about mental health, we can increase understanding and empathy for those who are struggling. We can learn more about their struggles and the support they need, and we can be better equipped to provide that support when needed.
• To Encourage People To Seek Help When They Need It. Many people who struggle with mental health challenges may not realize that they need help or may be afraid to ask for it. By having conversations about mental health, we can raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of mental illness and encourage people to seek help when needed. We can also share information about the resources available to those who need them, such as counseling services, support groups, and hotlines.
• To Promote Mental Health and Wellness. Mental health is not just about treating mental illness but also about promoting mental health and wellness. We can share tips and strategies for improving mental health and well-being by having conversations about mental health, such as exercise, mindfulness, and self-care. We can also promote healthy habits and behaviors supporting mental health, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and connecting with others.
• To Create A Culture Of Support And Resilience: Finally, having conversations about mental health can help create a culture of support and resilience within our communities. When we talk openly and honestly about mental health, we create a space where people feel safe and supported, even when struggling. We can also promote a sense of resilience by sharing stories of hope and recovery and encouraging others to seek help when needed.

If you, or someone you know, may be struggling with mental health issues, seek help from your primary care provider or a mental health professional as soon as possible. There is always hope.

If you would like to talk to someone and/or are looking for additional support, I may be reached at gottahavehope38@gmail.com or by letter to 559 West Broadway Street, Winona, MN 55987.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark Jacobson
Peer Support Specialist
Winona, MN