Mental Health Awareness
The irony of mental health month during these tumultuous times is not lost. While we cozy up to May and revel in its awareness of mental health, many psychologists spearheaded relatively new conversations and theories. With these conversations, we are able to make understanding of other people, grow empathy, as well as be more honest about internal emotions while handling them in a healthy way.
Let us use this new time to pay tribute to the understandable dismissal of Women’s History Month.
We wanted to highlight three female psychologists whose nuanced approach helped shape the understanding of modern psychology and, thus, how we understand each other.
Karen Horney- Horney was a post-Freudian, German psychologist. Much of her work went to counter Freud’s own ponderings. She countered him on his idea that women suffer from “penis envy.” Her disregard for his theories and her quick countering that men have “womb envy” shifted the conversation from the dominant sex and opened the door to modern female psychology. Her theories questioned the instinctual rhetoric of much of psychology up until then and was able to give room to environmental factors influencing decisions.
Leta Stetter Hollingworth- Hollingworth was a trailblazer and, probably unintentionally, shattered the misunderstanding of women. At the time, it was common thought to believe women as psychologically inferior and while menstruating, partially invalid. Hollingworth pioneered intelligence tests to prove women were as capable as men regardless of what time of the month. In addition, she also was essential in constructing the understanding of child psychology, especially those with mental gifts.
Joy Harden Bradford- Stepping into the modern world, Bradford is currently active in shaping the narrative and providing platforms specifically for black girls. She runs a mental health platform, called Therapy for Black Girls and also runs a podcast of the same name. Mental
health has long been more of a taboo subject but an overarching issue in minority communities, Bradford makes it her agenda to give black girls the sense of community to talk about common troubles they may have.
While these women have made several advances in shaping how we talk about women and girls, they are not the end of the book, they’re barely a page. Every day, psychologists are discussing what it means to be a woman, a black woman, white woman, Asian woman, Latin woman, and many communities have sprung, like Bradford’s, to be able to remedy these concerns and provide help and resources.
Pause. Breathe. Notice how you feel.
Take Breaks. Distant yourself from negative content, no need to psych yourself out even more.
Make Time. It’s important to make time and schedule sleep and exercise.
Reach Out. With the surge of AI, having that human connection is important. Call that person, answer that text, and stay connected.
Seek Help. If your car is broke, you seek help from a mechanic. If not sure of what to do legally, you seek help from a lawyer. If overwhelmed or unsafe, seek help from a mental health counselor.