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How to check up on your friends during Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month, and though the awareness of mental health has become a popular topic over the years as people are becoming more open about their struggles, mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are rising among teens.  It's important to check up on your friends (and yourself!) routinely to make sure they know that you care about them and their well-being. Here are some activities to try with your besties as a way to unwind.

Journal together
Journaling is the perfect way to spill out all your thoughts and feeling about anything. It is a mind dump, so hold nothing back! Bring out your journals and pens, get comfy and follow some writing prompts to get started. At the end, if you're comfortable, share what each of you wrote. It will help you get a better sense of what she's going through.

Try meditation
Psychologists recommend meditating as a way to clear your mind from distractions that may cause stress and anxiety in order to focus on the present moment, according to Psychology today. It helps boosts your happiness, health, self-control and productivity. Try it out with some friends either at a class of in the comfort of your own home and share your experiences with each other.

Hit the gym
Working out is sure to have you releasing some pent up anger and stress! Grab your gym besties and break a sweat. 

Have a vent sesh
Sometimes they just need to let it all out. Create a *safe space* with you and your friends to just share with each other what each of you have been dealing with. The signs are not always there, so you may not know what even your closest friends are going through until they share. (Note: if you or a friend is experiencing depressive or suicidal thoughts, alert a parent, counselor or trusted adult.)

Cook a healthy meal
Food is proven to affect your mental health, both good and bad. Plan a cooking night with all your closest friends to prepare a clean and nutritious meal together. Eating together is a great way to unite friends and create healthy interactions.

What are some ways you check up on your friends and yourself? Let us know in the comments!

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by Toyin Akinwande | 5/9/2018
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