The following is a guest post written by Antonio Morales Jr. — blogger, poet, photographer, and Summer Search Philadelphia student — for Mental Health Awareness Month.
Antonio, who currently attends Community College of Philadelphia, describes himself as “a creative, who loves to spread positivity and inspire. I aspire to change negative narratives and stereotypes of black men, while making it look good.”
Antonio Morales Jr.
The piece, originally published on his website, is part of a series where Antonio examines many issues surrounding mental health, and encourages his friends and followers to not be afraid to talk about what’s going on in their lives or to reach out for help.
Your Mental Health Matters
I know this topic might be uncomfortable for a lot of us, but it’s important. If you haven’t noticed already, I am a mental health advocate. I always like to make sure that people, especially black men, are comfortable talking about, and dealing with mental health. I’m not a therapist, or a psychologist, etc. I’m just someone who’s learned how to positively cope with his own issues, and wants to help others do the same. I want us all to understand that mental health is a very serious thing.
Our mentality affects our mood and our actions. When we’re in bad moods we can tend to be irritable or aggressive. That then affects the way we do things and how we speak to people. A lot of the time many of us don’t consider our mental health as something that affects our actions. Unfortunately in the black community it is often taught that things are what they are, and there’s no solution. We hear things like “He’s always angry” or “She’s always crying”. We’ve heard these terms and accepted them as normal. Then whenever someone does something out of the “ordinary” people say something is “wrong” with them. When a man gets emotional or cries, it’s looked at as unnatural or “soft”. When a woman gets angry it’s considered “un-lady like” or aggressive.
The truth is, all human beings feel every emotion. It doesn’t matter what your gender is. There are times when you’ll feel happy, angry, sad, and everything in between. In these moments, we don’t need judgement. We need understanding and safety. It needs to be known that it’s okay to feel how you feel. It’s okay to be anxious or depressed. We need to know that there is help. We need to know that there as positive coping mechanisms, like meditation, prayer, and exercise. We also need to understand that perfection is impossible and that we are all beautifully flawed individuals. We won’t always make the right decisions, and that’s okay. We can just try again the next day. Let’s all make an effort to work on our mental health, and make it a positive topic.
You’re Important. You’re Loved. You’re Enough.
Want more perspectives on mental health, physical health, love, style, spirituality, and everything in between? You can follow Antonio on Instagram, check out his podcast, and visit antoniodmoralesjr.com!