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Mental Health and Well-Being

This group serves as a community of practice for Extension personnel and their community partners who share a commitment to improving mental health through a focus on social and emotional well-being. Members are encouraged to create blog posts, publicize upcoming events, share resources, and engage with other members on issues of common interest.

A Random Inconvenience

I recently had a conversation with an official from an agency that educates, trains, and empowers blind and low vision individuals. We were discussing how to share the impact of two Mental Health First Aid courses that were offered to the staff at this agency. During the dialogue, this official shared that we must understand that most individuals who are blind or are low vision view this disability as a “random inconvenience.” I thought that was a very profound way to describe a disability that for those of us, who are not blind or have low vision, may view as a traumatic or catastrophic loss with associated mental health challenges. This person wanted to make sure that we did not portray staff or other individuals who were blind or low vision in such a stigmatizing way. It was simply a “random inconvenience.”

I started to wonder if that was also a clever way to look at mental health challenges. Most extension professionals teaching courses on mental health education or literacy review how individuals with mental health challenges can improve and maintain their health and wellness and strive to reach their full potential. With appropriate self-care, meetings with effective treatment professionals or following a helpful treatment plan, maybe we can start considering mental health challenges as “random inconveniences.”  That could certainly impact the nationwide narrative related to mental health stigma.

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