No matter how many studies are performed and articles are written, there is still a stigma associated with having a mental health condition that keeps many people from getting diagnosed and appropriately treated. The truth is that one in five adults will, at some time in their lives, experience mental illness. When it’s caught early enough, this illness can be treated like any other condition – through medical help and other types of therapy.
But sadly, millions of people are either unaware or in denial of their mental health problems. Awareness of symptoms of mental health conditions can bring relief to these individuals who are struggling through their lives feeling inadequate, depressed, and like failures.
Here are 5 ways you can help raise awareness of mental health and show that your mind, and everyone else’s, matters.
5 Ways to Get the Word Out About Mental Health
- Talk about it! The best way to show that the topic is not taboo and to help erase the stigma is to feel comfortable talking about mental health conditions. Talk about how you are feeling, ask others about their feelings, and embrace the fact that we all feel differently at any given time, and it’s okay!
- Educate yourself and others. When people don’t understand something, they often fear it or abhor it. By reading about mental illness and the signs and symptoms, learning about triggers and the paths that often lead to mental illness and suicide, and raising awareness of where to go for help, you can make a difference in even one person’s life. When someone becomes aware of their mental health disability, they can take the steps to get help.
- Volunteer. There are many mental health organizations in your area that likely do not have a lot of awareness because they lack funding and staff to help on a larger degree. They need volunteers to do everything from distributing educational information to the public to manning phones and being trained for hotline calls.
By volunteering, you not only are helping to raise awareness for those organizations and the mental health problem, but you are also being a role model to those who watch your altruistic actions.
- See something? Say something! Bullying doesn’t stop just because we are out of school. It’s sad but true that anyone can be the victim of a targeted act of bullying, especially with social media granting easy access to almost everybody today. Watch for destructive behaviour online and in person, and teach your children to do the same. If you see something, step in and say something.
- Share about the triggers of mental health and encourage those around you to take preventative measures. For someone predisposed to depression or other mental health conditions for any reason – their past, their environment, their biology, whatever – there are other triggers that can increase this sensitivity.
Certain foods, medications, lack of exercise, television shows, and even the music you listen to can increase your feelings of inadequacy, sadness, and other mental health issues. Know and share the triggers to help others, and yourself, pull out of environments and situations that may make their symptoms worse.
Be Aware and Share the Awareness
It seems like a daunting job to take on the weight of removing the stigma of mental health from collective society, but all it takes is one person to start a movement. While you can’t move a mountain by yourself, when you take action to share the awareness of mental health, you’ll quickly find others who are also in your shoes and, by working together, you can make a difference.