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How To Raise Awareness About Mental Health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness found that more than 43.8 million people are affected by mental health disorders each year. Despite this, less than half of those suffering will seek professional help,1 and many will only do so more than ten years after the onset of the condition.
This refusal to seek treatment stems from decades of stigma surrounding asking for or admitting you need help.
Raising awareness for mental health conditions is the most powerful method of counteracting the shame many people struggling with these issues may feel.
Some of the most effective ways to achieve this include the following:
Talk About Mental Health Issues Openly
Living with a mental health disorder is exceptionally challenging. Not only must those who suffer from the condition experience the symptoms of their illness, but they are often expected to deny or hide their struggles.
Talking openly about your own battles with mental health, and asking after and genuinely listening to your family and friends’ responses can, in turn, encourage them to speak out about their symptoms and emotions and possibly seek help.
Educate Yourself and Others on the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illnesses
Many people who struggle with mental illness refuse to ask for help because they don’t want to be felt sorry for. Society tends to belittle those who have problems others see as being ‘all in the mind.’
Understanding and teaching people about the causes, symptoms, and treatments available for mental health diseases like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can better equip yourself and those around you to discuss these issues in a supportive manner.
Possible warning signs of a developing mental illness include:
- Mood changes
- Antisocial behavior
- Changes in sleep and eating patterns
- Constant sadness
If you notice these symptoms in a loved one, talk to them about what they are feeling and encourage them to get professional help.
Practice Kindness and Compassion
For too long, words like ‘wacko’ or ‘loony’ have been used to describe people with a serious mental illness. More than anything, those struggling with their mental health need compassion and kindness, not ridicule.
Teach children and teenagers to be respectful of their peers and people who don’t behave the same way they do. Then take this teaching to heart and exercise compassion towards not only those obviously suffering from mental health issues but everyone you come into contact with.
Take and Share a Free Mental Health Screening
Often an individual may suspect they have a problem with their mental health but may be hesitant to seek out a diagnosis, which would likely only confirm their fears. Taking a mental health screening quiz, and sharing that you did so on social media, could encourage the people on your friends list to do the same.2
If finding out whether you need help is treated as normal and supported, many more people may garner the courage to do so.
Participate or Volunteer in Awareness Events
National Mental Health Month begins on the first of May every year and is marked by increased local and online awareness events.
Through volunteering at, participating in, or even just sharing these events online, you can encourage others to get involved in learning more about mental health issues.
Whether during May or the rest of the year, use these events to get out there and directly address the need for more people to become aware of the realities of their mental health and that of those around them.
Take a Holistic Approach to Help Improve the Mental Wellbeing of Your Family, Friends, and Yourself
Raising awareness is not only about teaching people how to identify mental illnesses. It’s also about making a positive, lasting impact on their mental health.
You can do this by encouraging your loved ones to practice self-care or even by helping them focus on their physical health through exercise and healthy eating habits. Arranging park runs or hikes in the name of mental health awareness could benefit the cause dually.
Mental Health Treatment
An open discussion and show of support may provide individuals with the encouragement needed to diagnose and seek treatment for their illness.
Once diagnosed, there are several mental health programs available, including:
- Residential Treatment Program – This provides a customized plan and constant care based on each person’s needs, including treating patients as more than just the sum of their symptoms, but like real humans, through therapy and family counseling.
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – Delivering the same level of care as the residential program while allowing patients to continue working or attending school and maintaining control over their lives and schedules.
- Adolescent Mental Health Program – Aimed at helping teens deal with depression and low self-esteem, the program provides access to regular therapy addressing various issues, from complex family dynamics to the pressure of societal opinions.
If you or someone you know suffers from a mental health illness, get in touch with our helpline today at 855-414-8100 to acquire the support or treatment you need.