April is National Minority Health Month, a time for individuals within the BIOPC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) community to focus on addressing their mental health needs. Started 20 years ago, the National Minority Health Month Foundation launched National Minority Health Month to strengthen the commitment of local communities and mental health practitioners to eliminate the barriers minority populations often face when struggling with mental health issues.
During this time, many of us, including those in the BIOPC communities, are facing daily struggles in dealing with the continued stressors related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health has released some guidelines and suggestions to help individuals stay as healthy as possible during this time.
Moving our body is not only good for our physical health but also our mental health. Not only do we feel good about ourselves when we commit to an exercise regimen, but the movement itself helps our body to release “feel good” hormones that can alleviate stress and anxiety.
When we are dealing with stressful situations, most of us tend to reach for unhealthy comfort foods laden with trans fats and refined sugars. Not only do these foods tend to make us pack on weight, but the chemicals in these foods can exacerbate our mental health issues, making us feel more depressed and tired.
It’s important to eat foods that support our mental health. Be sure to get enough complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Your brain needs healthy fats to function properly.
Be Gentle with Yourself
When we are struggling with stress, depression or anxiety, it’s important that we are kind to ourselves and practice self-compassion and self-care. Take time for yourself each day to show yourself some love and nurture your spirit. Pray, listen to music or get that massage you know you need!
It’s also a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional to get some guidance and tools to help you navigate what you are going through. If you’d like to explore treatment options, please reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to speak with you about how I might be able to help.
You may also want to check out this resource for some other minority health resources.