Did you know that May was Mental Health Awareness month? Even though May has come to an end, it’s the perfect time to delve deeper into the topic of advocating and increasing awareness regarding mental health.
It seems that with the unprecedented times we have found ourselves living in, more people than ever before are struggling. However, mental health remains a contentious subject that many people shy away from, which is why we must continue to reduce the stigma. This is how to raise awareness for mental health.
Reduce the Stigma
Many people who have a mental illness avoid seeking treatment for their mental health because they fear the backlash of what might happen if they do. The truth is, their concerns aren’t wholly paranoic, as there is still a negative attitude toward matters regarding mental illness. And although it’s illegal for your employer to discriminate against you due to your mental health condition, these things still unfortunately happen. These aspects all culminate to create what we know as the stigma against mental health.
It’s dangerous and heartbreaking that there are people who delay or wholly deny themselves from pursuing help due to the feeling of dishonor. To help others feel safe and secure seeking treatment, we must continue to reduce the stigma. The best way to do this is by speaking openly and honestly about our personal experiences; this is how to raise awareness for mental health. When we do this, we allow many others to share their experiences and feel comfortable knowing that they aren’t alone.
Many of us likely don’t have the social media followers to reach hundreds of thousands of people when talking about mental health. If you do, consider making use of your platform—there is so much good you can achieve when you can reach that many people.
For the rest of us, one of the best ways to raise awareness is by reaching out to our friends, family, and the local community. We can start a conversation about mental health illnesses and show they aren’t a badge of dishonor. When we reach out, we can show others that there are ways to cope with depression and many other mood disorders.
Unfortunately, some of the most common representations of mental illnesses in TV shows or movies don’t shed a good light upon them. Often, we will see characters with mood disorders displayed as criminals, murderers, or even lazy fakers. These dreadful stereotypes further keep people from seeking help for fear that they might appear as anything but “normal.”
The fear lies in the symptoms of mental illnesses that many in our traditional society don’t deem as appropriate behavior. That is why it’s beneficial for us to learn how various mood disorders might display themselves through symptoms. For example, consider symptoms like antisocial tendencies, changes in emotions, and fluctuations in eating or sleeping patterns. When we familiarize ourselves with these behaviors, we can better recognize when someone needs help and reduce the hurtful stereotypes associated with them.
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