Mental health illnesses are rapidly on the rise, aggravating considerably with rapid digitalization and globalization. Despite the advancements in psychological care, most sufferers do not have access to treatments and resources. The stigma attached to psychological diseases and mental disorders remains a prominent reason for depriving patients of quality care.
Untreated mental illnesses can aggravate life challenges and put the patient and caregivers/family members at grave risk. Patients who do not get adequate treatment perform poorly in their academic and professional lives. They have lesser prospects and employment opportunities and higher medical bills with no financial stability. Alarmingly, the risk of suicide is much higher in patients who fail to get adequate treatment.
Given the odds, how can you, as a caregiver, friend, or community member, spread mental health awareness and help patients? Keep reading to find out.
Self-Awareness: Educate Yourself
The first step to spreading awareness is educating yourself. What is a mental health illness? It’s an illness that disrupts normal thinking patterns, behaviors, emotions, and energies, thereby disrupting life and creating unusual challenges. You can educate yourself in the study of genetics, brain structures, brain chemistry, and neurotransmitters.
Some people gravitate towards the biological explanations of mental illnesses and regard them as medical conditions like diabetes. Others gravitate towards psychoanalysis and Freudian theories of human behavior. Exploring discourses and psychological theories will also help you understand the capacity in which you want to help patients.
Those who aspire to spread awareness and lead campaigns to fight stigma can work in community services and public health. And those who seek to help patients in clinical settings or conduct therapy can pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Research and self-awareness are crucial for finding your calling and determining how you can effectively spread mental health awareness.
Respect & Acceptance
Stigmas thrive in societies and communities that are unaccepting towards the unusual and unique. Societies and cultures that promote and encourage conformity and conventionalism are often unkind to people with mental disorders. In such a community, how can you help spread awareness?
When it comes to fighting stigmas, it’s essential to set a strong precedent. You can do that by hiring an employee who is autistic or diagnosed with schizophrenia in remission?
You can also make an impact by starting a community awareness program that distributes information and convenes a regular support group. It’s all about giving respect and acceptance and helping patients believe that they matter. Allowing people to contribute to economic activity and enjoy opportunities despite their mental state genuinely matters.
An eager smile and a respectful conversation can mean the world for someone struggling to process their thoughts.
Don’t Argue. Share Resources
Everyone likes advocating causes and issues that touch their hearts across their circles of influence. However, when conflicting opinions arise, advocacy turns into arguments. Arguments are hard to win, and unfortunately, they rarely have a positive impact because people aggressively stick to their perspectives.
How can you advocate mental health awareness and make an impact? The first step is to avoid arguing and belittling the other person’s opinion. The focus should be on sharing resources in a manner that will genuinely engage the person. For instance, a person who enjoys reading would like a book to understand anxiety disorders or bipolar disorder.
Similarly, you can share videos and interviews with people who don’t believe that ADHD is a real mental health disorder. It’s about sharing information and resources with people and advocating for equal rights and opportunities for the mentally ill.
Identifying Risk Factors
We often try to make a significant impact, and in the process, we neglect the people closest to us. We must begin our efforts at home and within our most intimate circles. It is essential to learn about the symptoms and risk factors of prevalent mental health illnesses. Be it an abusive relationship, divorce, broken families, substance abuse, or accidents, people who undergo trauma experience emotional distress.
Many people experience chemical imbalances in their brains or inherit mental illnesses from their parents. Watching out for risk factors and symptoms allows us to help our family members and friend by staging an intervention. If you see someone struggling with reducing life quality and emotional difficulty, help them help themselves.
Human beings thrive on social contact, interactions, and relationships because we need support, encouragement, and love. When all else fails, a little support and honest encouragement can lift a person’s spirit and renew their faith.
People with mental health illnesses are continually struggling to break free from vicious cycles, and they keep failing to improve. They often lose faith in their treatment and abilities and need support from their loved ones and friends. It’s essential to lend support by engaging people in festivities, special events, opportunities and lending a friendly shoulder to cry on.
Spreading mental health awareness doesn’t always require a massive campaign or enormous placards carrying inspiring quotes. All it takes is a thoughtful gesture that sets a strong precedent and inspires others to act to follow suit.
You can set a powerful example by hiring an employee diagnosed with a mental health illness. You can spread awareness by providing space for a community support group for alcoholics or the mentally ill; don’t worry about grand gestures; do your part!