This is an important month for your health and the health of those closest to you.
Not only is it Breast Cancer Awareness Month but it is also National Mental Health Month. The two may seem as different as night and day, but in some cases they go hand-in-hand as the toll of one can certainly lead to an exacerbation of the other.
I’m not a medical expert by any means, so please take my opinions and advice with a grain of salt.
If you care for someone who may be affected by either of these situations, be prepared with an open mind and an open heart. One of the most powerful tools we can have for them is the ability to just be there, to listen as they speak about what they’re going through and what lays ahead for them.
Breast cancer is something that can affect men and women of any race, religion and socioeconomic background. It doesn’t play favorites and it it doesn’t show mercy. Folks going through the fight against breast cancer need your support, a shoulder to cry on and a reminder that it’s not the end. That’s where you, as a friend or loved one, come in.
The fight against breast cancer starts with a medical professional and an exam. Sometimes your help begins with something as simple as accompanying them to the exam. It’s those little things that remind the person they won’t be alone in this toughest of times.
It’s the same for people dealing with some mental health issues. Professional medical assistance is important to help the person affected learn what can be done and what they could be facing. However, your attention to their behavior and any changes in their behavior can be key in getting them the help they need and possibly saving their life.
It’s also important that you keep an open ear to listen to what those closest are going through. Sometimes what they say is as important as how they behave, and the more you pay attention and the more you listen the sooner you can help them get the help they need.
Mental health issues aren’t just relegated to adults. They can manifest themselves in young people as well, especially in the changing world we live in. Just because they are young doesn’t mean we should disregard what they say or what they are going through. They could be facing a variety of issues they aren’t equipped to deal with, and what worked for us as youth may not work for them as youth.
As I said earlier, I’m not a medical professional, but I have openly told my friends and loved ones that I am always willing to listen. I won’t ever share what they go through, but I will never turn them away because I may be the last person they speak to and may be the thing that brings them back from that brink there’s no coming back from.
To learn more about mental health, visit nami.org
To learn more about breast cancer awareness, nationalbreastcancer.org
Brian Argabright is the sports editor at the Del Rio News-Herald, where he has worked for the last 22 years.