Mental Health Awareness Month has been recognized during the month of May in the U.S. since 1949. This is a time when people come together to spread awareness about mental health issues in the pursuit of reducing the stigma so many experience.
As for everyone else, mental health is an important part of children and adolescent’s overall health and well-being. This includes children’s mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being, and can also affect young people’s ability to handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
At Mentor USA we are passionate about encouraging, supporting, and motivating young people to make good choices and live healthy lives. In conjunction with this, we also recognize the importance of acknowledging mental health issues and reducing the stigma around this as one important part of improving and supporting the lives of our young people.
Mentor USA’s Ambassador H.R.H. Princess Sora Saud also shares this passion with us and has now shared some of her thoughts on how to sustain good mental health and why it’s important to speak up about these issues that affect so many.
Princess Sora, could you please share some insights and reflections on what you do to sustain good mental health?
To sustain my own mental health, I have adopted three practices that help me in times of challenge or difficulty.
Firstly, some time ago, I allowed myself to start saying “no” to things which pleased others more than it did me. By saying no, I stay true to myself.
Secondly, I begin and end each day with a moment of self-care. For me, this looks like drinking a hot cup of lemon water in the morning and relaxing at night with my feet cozied up under a soothing hot water bag.
Lastly, I rely on my support system; my close-knit network of friends and family who lift me up without passing judgement and who challenge me to keep striving.
Ultimately, I have come to learn that every season or phase of life will challenge you in some way; just when you feel like you have mastered one, another comes knocking at your door. Moving abroad, experiencing a new culture, going to college, and starting multiple businesses are some examples of when I felt this sense of metamorphosis take place. In every case, tremendous growth came out of these periods of my life and contributed to who I am today.
Can you share some thought on why you think it’s important to speak up about mental health and mental health issues?
Culturally speaking, mental health was more or less taboo when I was growing up. It wasn’t talked about. I’m happy this is changing.
Being able to talk about feelings and mental health humanized the notion that it’s okay to struggle at times — it’s normal. EVERYONE struggles at times, has their own challenges; you, me, everyone. Releasing the stigma and notion that someone has to hide their pain to be perfect is a healthy way to live life. I’ve learned so much in life listening to people’s mistakes and how they overcame life’s difficulties. Talking and sharing about mental health should just be as natural as this. We all can learn something by listening, and learning, from others’ life experiences. Not only that, but we can become better allies and learn how to offer support when someone we know is suffering.
Mental health is essential for the wellbeing of individuals world-wide which is why it should be discussed freely, without judgement or shame. In order to help change the status quo and emphasize the importance of mental health awareness in Saudi Arabia, my foundation, Ahyaha has not only recognized mental health as a top priority, but has also created and ]أحياها ا ٕلانسانية[ dispersed a mental health/first aid manual to communities across my region.
Thank you so much, H.H. Princess Sora Saud, for taking the time to share your thoughts and insights on this important matter. We are honored to be able to call you a Mentor Foundation USA Ambassador!