When you suffer with your mental health as one in four of us do in the UK you come to learn that while you may always suffer with a mental illness, you won’t always feel it at the forefront of your mind and on very good days, you’ll barely experience any symptoms.
Some TikTok users have been using these good days to put together first aid kits for the days when they’re struggling with their mental health. These serve a multitude of purposes in the healing and comfort needed on bad days including sensory tools, toiletries, medicines and small reminders of love and comfort.
While these can’t change the symptoms or cause of depression, having these to hand on difficult days is a small gift from past you to help you through the days, even just a little bit.
How to make your own mental health first aid kit
These kits don’t have to require lots of emotional energy – a bag or box at your bedside or wherever brings you comfort when you’re in a difficult place with your mental health is fine. When you’re having a good day, think about what helps to keep you afloat on the easier days. Is it certain smells, books, photographs? Add those to the kit to try to bring you back to a more comfortable place mentally.
Next up is hygiene. If your personal hygiene dips during periods of bad mental health, you’re not alone. Melissa A. Jones, PhD, HSPP, a clinical psychologist based in Indiana actually said that some of her clients. “report not having enough energy to do simple self-care tasks, such as brushing their teeth or washing their hair” and added “many of them do not take care of their personal hygiene needs unless they are reminded by a family member to do so.”
TikTok user HealingWithLil has tackled this by including mouthwash, dry shampoo, and face wipes in her box. These will all take minimal effort which is especially helpful with mental illnesses such as depression which can cause a decrease in energy and motivation.
Psychologists from the NHS Shropshire Community Neuro Rehab Team recommend choosing a number of items that that “make you feel good” for what they can an “emotional first aid kid”, such as: “a CD, a comfy pair of pyjamas, some chocolate, a photo album, a poem, a symbol of achievement, a stress-ball.” They also recommend that you make a list of the things that “help when you are down or overwhelmed.”