May 9, 2022
Self Esteem is today’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Month
MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department’s Health Equity Office is recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month. This week’s article – submitted by Outreach Education Skandan Ananthasekar – has a theme of “Self Esteem.”
We know that mental health is a critical component of our overall wellbeing but many in our community are faced with the reality of living with mental illness.
In addition, racial, gender, and sexual minorities often suffer from poorer mental health outcomes due to multiple structural level factors. Especially during the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on people’s mental health whether that be because of the loss of a loved one, social isolation, or financial burdens.
All of this highlights the importance of raising awareness about mental health, fighting stigma, educating our community, and advocating for policies that reduce barriers to mental health treatment.
One part of our mental health that is often not examined is our self-esteem or how it is we feel about ourselves. People with low self-esteem have negative feelings about themselves which has been linked to mental health issues and inadequate quality of life.
Negative relationships can lead to negative perceptions about how we feel and think about ourselves. Low self-esteem has been linked to addiction, as people use substances as a form of escapism from how they feel about themselves. Finally, low self-esteem can be present with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and might develop because of the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. This further highlights the importance of normalizing conversations about mental illness and spreading awareness about mental health.
Building self-esteem is critical because people with high self-esteem can recognize their good qualities and strive to live happier and more successful lives. It is normal to have negative thoughts about oneself but the key to building self-esteem is to challenge these negative thoughts and transition them into more positive thoughts.
Building a healthy lifestyle is a first key step because valuing our minds and bodies can help build physical and emotional confidence. As a result, exercise, a healthy diet, and meditation can be an important first step to building self-esteem. Feeling supported and loved and being able to offer the same in return is another key step. Fully engaging with those we love such as friends and family, volunteering, or joining support group can help.
However, changing deep rooted feelings about yourself is not easy and sometimes professional help in the form of therapy is needed. Resources available to our community include:
• NAMI Help Line: 1-800-950-NAMI
• AltaPointe Health Crisis Response Team: 251-450-2211
• Veterans Recovery Resources: 251-405-3677
• Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
This media product was supported by funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 1 NH75OT000104-01-00. The content of this media product is that of the authors and does not necessarily stand for the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.