Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters: my own mental health first aid kit – Film Stories

Our most recent article on Mental Health and Wellness Issues looks at a first aid kit to help when life throws itself at us.

Hello and a warm welcome to our little section on the site where we talk about mental health and wellness. It’s where we talk about things that may affect you, us, or the people around us. Not every article we publish will be useful to everyone, but we hope that there is something in this series of pieces that will be useful to you.

This week, we give the floor to the brilliant Sarah, who wants to talk about a first aid kit with a difference…

Do you suffer from mental illness or poor mental health? Do you have a hard time being ‘grown-up’ for no specific reason? Have you ever considered becoming ‘unliving’, as kids call it these days? So fear not. Susan on Facebook has found the answer: yoga, eating kale, running marathons, and just getting pumped. Hurrah!

Oops: my sarcastic side slipped again. does that. Especially when it comes to unsolicited advice from non-professionals who believe their Facebook posts can solve all of life’s problems.

Susan, if my very being could really be healed with a motivational quote and a salad, don’t you think the countless professionals I’ve seen throughout my life would have suggested it to me by now? Please go back to your unpronounceable smoothie and let me sulk in peace.

To say that I have suffered and struggled with mental health issues is as much of an understatement as ‘Star Wars is popular’.

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And this whole pandemic hasn’t helped one bit. In fact, since the first lockdown my mental state has been worse than ever. Monthly breakdowns, spiraling eating disorders, inability to do literally anything. It was too much and I didn’t expect to survive, but my concern about covid itself was minimal.

For my birthday last year, I was given some delicious cookies in a beautiful tin that looks like a fairy tale book. (Thank you, Clark family). It was too good to just throw it away or store it indefinitely for no reason. So I took some time to think about it.

Suddenly, all the breakdowns, nonsensical advice, and how society treats mental and physical ailments differently hit me immediately. And I knew: I needed a first aid kit.

Not one with band-aids, paracetamol and a hot compress: I already have that one. I needed an emergency first aid kit for my sanity.

This particular first aid kit is for when my mental health again begins to reach depths only Megalodons and Jason Statham are familiar with. I can take anywhere from a few minutes to a whole day just to give myself a break to calm down.

I’m still working on completing my First Aid Kit, but when it’s full it will contain:

  • Sticky Notes – so you can leave me positive notes or reminders as needed
  • Mini notebooks: to write down my hopes and dreams or lists of music and movies to focus on
  • Book of happiness – a notebook to add my favorite quotes, lyrics, memories and more
  • Ballpoint pen: I can’t write without one
  • Stickers: cute or relevant to my previous progress
  • Messages from friends: letters or cards of support, which should not be read until needed
  • Sweets: Who doesn’t love a guilt-free fix of sugar?
  • Photos: of my cute cat or favorite landmark
  • Tea bags – some of my favorite brand
  • A sensory toy: to keep your hands and brain busy
  • …and anything else you can fit in
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I even made a TikTok video about it.

@taysunberry My Mental Health First Aid Kit | An emergency first aid kit for when my mental health gets too bad | A variety of items to cheer me up and room for more. #mental health #mental health matters #mentalhealthawareness #Mental illness #first aid #first aid #First aid box #selfcare #selfcaretiktok ♬ Salon – Clutch

The idea is that it gives me a break to think about how to move forward; Am I looking for additional help or has that break just given me the push I need to keep going?

If I cut my finger, I can heal it temporarily. Why have I never tried this with a mental health slip?

Surely we all need emergency solutions for mental health too. So this is mine. What’s yours? What would your mental health first aid kit contain? Let us know in the comments.

(And, just to reassure you: I’m doing relatively well, at the moment.)

You all take care of yourselves. This column will return, as always, next Wednesday. And a huge thank you to the brilliant Sarah.

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