Welcome to our special section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

Recently, I was struck by an observation. I’ll let you see it for yourself:

National Superhero Day

Drug Take-Back Day

National Gardening Week

Autism Awareness Day

Stress Awareness Month

Mental Illness Awareness Week

National Minority Health Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Public Health Week

National Prevention Week

Stress Awareness Day

Maternal Mental Health Day

Healthy Vision Month

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

National Space Day

National Volunteer Month

Hand Hygiene Day

National Nurses Week

National Teachers’ Day

Physical Fitness Day

National Health & Healthcare Day

National Police Week

Men’s Mental Health Month

World No Tobacco Day

Pride Month

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week

Perhaps it’s my work in human services, but I couldn’t help but think to myself, “We need Me Appreciation Day.” You may have heard that we tend to be our harshest critics, and I personally can attest to this, for better or worse. But I find that it’s so very important to take a moment each day (or however often for however long I need) to appreciate me, celebrate me, pat myself on the back, and all in all just be kind to myself. You get the idea. This thought occurred to me because one day recently, I realized that I’m constantly on the go without taking the time to enjoy the moment…or look back. And it doesn’t even have to be any specific achievement like an award or a scholarship. For example, how about allowing yourself to feel how strong you are for simply being (true to) yourself? It takes a whole lot of courage to be who we are, especially if we don’t exactly fit the mold or conform to what the world expects. That strength belongs to you and no one can take that away from you unless you let them.

As for myself, being in such an intense graduate academic program takes a lot out of me, and I’ve definitely had moments where I could’ve/should’ve taken a “Me Appreciation Day” but didn’t, somehow. But I’m getting better at it, and I’m all the happier for it. How do I appreciate me? Well, for me it’s like approaching any of the more than two dozen designated days, weeks, and months that I shared above: take a moment, undistracted, to reflect on who you are and what you like about yourself, including your past, present, and future (dreams, hopes, or goals, perhaps?), and remember to be kind to yourself every day. Also, let’s allow ourselves to feel, think, and, more importantly, believe that we deserve support, love, health, recognition, help, success, a break, happiness, a second chance, etc. And let’s try and remember to do this every day of the year. So yes, it’s Me Appreciation Day today!

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More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis


  • Hwal Lee

    Thrive Global Campus Editor-at-Large from Radford University

    Hwal Lee is a community health PA and mental health advocate. Besides movies and boba tea, mental health education and outreach is his favourite hobby. Hwal completed his counsellor training in Australia, and is a nationally certified Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor in the U.S. He may have recently graduated, but learning must go on.