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As you all know, I am a major proponent of promoting mental health. One of the greatest things to happen to mental health awareness is the institution of Mental Health Day as an official, nationally-recognized event. Even though the holiday is almost a full year away (October 10), I figured it would be a good idea to prepare now. Below is a list of ways that you can celebrate the holiday in order to show your respect for the 43.8 million Americans that suffer from mental illness.

Check in on others

Do you know of any friends, coworkers or family members that have been MIA lately? Anyone that seems to be off lately? You might want to check in on that person every now and then to see how they’re doing. They might not tell you to your face immediately (or at all), but they might be going through some major mental health issues. Send a thoughtful text message or email; make a quick phone call and check in on them. Ask them if they want to get a bite to eat or just hang out. That small amount of compassion can make the biggest difference.

Make your voice heard

Mental health awareness initiatives are always looking for more allies. The more people aware of mental health issues, the better we can prevent potential devastating consequences. Join a mental health awareness group and promote events and ongoings within your community or around the world. Or take to social media and express your compassion and care for those suffering from mental health issues.

Thrive NYC

Thrive NYC is an amazing initiative designed to provide proper education within the City of New York in order to eradicate social stigmas around mental health. The program offers training on ways to provide assistance to those who suffer from mental health, with focuses on everything from adults to children. It’s a great program that every New York City resident should participate in. For more information, visit their site.

Mental Health is one of the most important factors of our everyday lives. We must band together and put an end to negative stigmas and stereotypes if we ever hope to progress as a society.