Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash
Written by Arnold Rogers, Freelance Writer/Contributor
Mental illnesses are a common health issue in the United States. More than 50% of individuals are likely to have a mental health condition at some point in life. What’s the importance of mental health awareness for your well-being? How can you help raise awareness of mental health in the community?
Mental health involves not only your psychological wellness. Awareness of your mental state also includes determining your emotional and social well-being. Mental health affects how people think, feel, and act. By learning the importance of mental health awareness, you’ll be more capable of handling issues related to your psychological health and helping others. Many factors, like your genes, life experiences, and family history, can contribute to mental health issues. Even your brain chemistry may affect your thinking, behavior, and mood. For more information, read this article on how brain chemicals can influence your brain.
Ways to Help Promote Mental Health Awareness to Others
Raising mental health awareness is a task that doesn’t have to be limited to professional therapists, nonprofit organizations, or the government. If you’re interested in promoting mental health to others, you can do so in your own way, regardless of your background, profession, culture, or religion. For example, you can learn about and symptoms. These signs may include confusion, excessive worrying or sadness, extreme mood changes, avoidance of social activities, or changes in sleeping or eating habits.*
Anyone can experience these warning signs at any point in their lives. By understanding these symptoms, you can share that knowledge with others so that they can become aware of the risks and seek help to determine whether or not these signs lead to mental illness.
Regardless if these symptoms cause someone to suffer emotionally or lead to mental illness, addressing these warning signs is necessary. People who struggle, whether that be from an illness or not, may refuse to ask for help. Their reasons may vary, one being they may not want others to feel sorry for them. They may perceive society to belittle those with such issues. Others may see these illnesses as being “all in the mind” (imagined or nonexistent). Learning the causes and symptoms of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression and the treatments for these diseases can help you become better equipped to discuss these issues with.
You may have heard people using words like “loony,” “nuts,” “demented,” or “crazy” to describe individuals experiencing mental suffering and illness. One study showed that out of 44 frequently occurring words related to mental health problems, 33 had strongly negative. Only four words like “isolated” and “sad” elicited compassion or empathy. You may have heard people using words like “loony” or “wacko” to describe individuals experiencing mental suffering and illness. But people struggling with mental health issues don’t need words and actions that ridicule them. Instead, they need kindness and compassion.
If you’re a parent, teach your children to respect their peers and people who don’t behave the same way your kids do. Take what you teach into your heart and show compassion, not only to people with mental health issues but to everyone you come across. You can also consider discussing mental health issues openly to help counter the stigma and discrimination surrounding this topic.
Some individuals may hide or deny their struggles related to mental suffering and disorders to avoid being subject to unnecessary ridicule. Through open discussion, you can help bring mental health issues to a broader audience and make it known that these disorders can affect anyone. When sharing your mental health experience, listen to your family’s or friends’ responses. Encourage them to talk about their symptoms, and you may motivate them to seek the help they need.
Technology can also help you spread awareness of mental health issues as you can use your online presence to promote and participate in local campaigns. For instance, you can use social media to advocate for awareness of mental illnesses and the importance of seeking professional help. May is National Mental Health Month. Expect numerous events related to mental health taking place this month. Use this opportunity to share these events online, such as on your social media account, and encourage others to learn more about these issues.
But whether you organize events in May or any time of the year, you can still spread awareness about mental health and the pressing issues affecting those around you. And if you’re up to the challenge, you can join organizations advocating for changes to significantly impact the mental wellness of all individuals. For example, Give an Hour has a Wellness Ambassador program, that you can check out to volunteer in building healthy and resilient communities and individuals.
Why Mental Health Awareness Is Important
Your physical and mental health are closely linked and equally important components of your overall health. When you have depression, it can increase your risk for numerous physical health problems, like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Alternatively, chronic conditions can increase your risk for mental illnesses.
Mental disorders, also called mental health conditions, affect one in eight people worldwide. The WHO (World Health Organization) identifies these conditions as follows:
- Anxiety disorders like panic disorder and social anxiety disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Disruptive behavior like persistent defiance and disobedience
- Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia
- Neurodevelopmental disorders like ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Schizophrenia characterized by persistent delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking
Increasing mental health awareness can help society better understand emotionally suffering and mental illness and eliminate stigmas.
These actions may help you recognize individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, and other conditions affecting their mental well-being. Awareness can also help you develop a sense of self-realization of your mental health .
This Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to broaden your understanding of mental health issues. Share your story on social media or participate in mental health conventions and walks. You don’t have to limit yourself to this month to advocate for mental health. If you want to volunteer and get involved any day of the year, join as a Wellness Ambassador!
As an experienced business consultant, Arnold Rogers has advised businesses across many industries in areas of lead generation, customer experience, service development, and small business cash flow and financial management.
- About Mental Health
- What Is Mental Health?
- Warning Signs of Mental Illness
- 250 labels used to stigmatise people with mental illness
- REAN Foundation Blog
- May is National Mental Health Month
- Mental disorders
*Give an Hour created the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering, which are signs that we all experience when we are suffering and in emotional pain that may or may not lead to a diagnosable illness. Remember we all have mental health and whether dealing with suffering due to a temporary situation or an ongoing mental illness, both need to be addressed. Until we fully understand this, stigma will rear it’s ugly head.