When we think about supporting physical health, it often feels clearer what we need to do to get better and that being unwell is not our fault. With mental health though, it can be easy to blame ourselves, feel there is no way forward and forget that our brain is an organ that needs looking after like any other.
Admitting when something is wrong
It can be important to take that first step and identify to someone else that you might be struggling or that you do need extra help or support. This could be through textline/support line who can help get through dark moments and identify some next steps. There also LGBTQI+ specific support lines.
You can text shout on 85258
You can phone Samaritans 116 123
For LGBTQI+ specific support
Mermaids on 0808 801 0400
Stonewall 08000 50 20 20
LGBT foundation 0345 3 30 30 30
If you have a trusted adult, whether that’s someone at home, school or out in the community they might be a good first point of call. If you feel comfortable with them then it’ll be easier to have that first conversation.
Using role models and social media
Follow people that build you up, and actively choose the accounts you follow and look at regularly. Role models can keep us going when we have had enough, they can help us dream and focus on what we want even if we don’t have it all right now. There are lots of positive LGBTQI+ role models out there, find ones that inspire you!
In this way you can use social media accounts to lift you up rather than mindlessly scrolling or feeling like everyone else has it better then you.
Finding your safe space
Not everyone is going to treat you with the kindness you deserve, but there are people that will. An important step to improving mental health is to seek out those safe spaces where you feel you are supported and accepted. This might through one of Space’s group talking with other LGBTQI+ teens or maybe you have another interest that you want to share with others. There are also groups with Dorset Mind Your Head if you wish to do different activities like art to explore your mental health. If you need to talk to someone one to one, DMYH have a wellbeing check-in service, that offers weekly online or phone check ins.
Your physical health and mental health are connected
Our physical health has a huge effect on our mental health. So sometimes it can be useful to make yourself do things to look after your physical health, even if you don’t think you need to or don’t think it will make a difference.
Check have you eaten today, have you eaten a mix of foods not just one type, be that sugary, carbs of even veg, it’s important you have a mix. Have you drunk much water today or soft drinks that aren’t fizzy? And finally have you got out of the house or stretched your legs. Nature can have a huge benefit on our mental health, and it can be useful to change our scenery to help change our mood.
Remember you as well know yourself most of all. You know you’re needs- listen to your bodies!
If you need further support with your mental health, Dorset Mind Your Head offers free counselling for ages 11-18, you can find out more on their website at dorsetmindyourhead.co.uk