Discussions revolving around mental health is one thing many try to shy away from as they’ve probably formed a misconception about it in their minds, and even more is due to the stigma attached to mental health. But mental health should be talked about, hence the need for mental health awareness. Research has shown that over 19 percent of the adult population, 46 percent of teenagers and 13 percent of children are affected by mental illness every year, yet only half of this population receive treatment. Alarming, you’d say. But this is the sad reality we’re in.
So, Let’s Talk About Mental Health
Mental health encapsulates our emotional, psychological and social well-being, which invariably affects how we think, talk, act, and relate with people. It is also a state of well-being where you get to know more about your abilities, how to favourably work with others and deal with everyday stress.
There a number of people who have been diagnosed with one mental illness or the other, yet have refused to seek help. Not necessarily because help is not available, but it perhaps stems from the thoughts of “what will people say?” “how will I be perceived from now onwards?” No doubt, there’s been stigmatization of those suffering from mental illnesses, but that should not deter you from getting help and getting the necessary treatment. That is why there’s a continuous mental health awareness, as a way of removing that age-long mindset and misinformation pertaining to mental health.
There a number of factors that can trigger mental illness and these include; Biological factors (genetics/heredity), Family history of mental illness, Social isolation or loneliness, Life experiences, Child abuse, trauma or/and neglect, Drug and alcohol abuse, Long-term physical health condition, or Environmental factors such as a dysfunctional family life, divorce, feelings of inadequacy, social or cultural expectations.
Mental health disorders come in two major forms- Anxiety Disorders and Mood Disorders. Anxiety disorders include; Panic attacks, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Anxiety Disorder, Neuro-cognitive Disorders, Dissociative Disorders, and Phobias. Mood disorders include; Depression and Bipolar depression.
Although, symptoms of mental health disorder vary, there are common symptoms which point to a mental health condition and these include;
- Changes in sleeping patterns;
- Loss of appetite;
- Turning to drugs or alcohol in moments of distress;
- Impulsive decision making;
- Suicidal thoughts.
Despite these symptoms, it is still crucial to go to a hospital for proper diagnosis which may include a physical examination, a psychological evaluation or a laboratory test. It is also important to regularly go for checkups and seek help if diagnosed with a mental ailment.
Mental health awareness helps spread knowledge and the right information about mental health, correcting the misconceptions people may have had or formed in that regard, breaks the stigma as regards mental health, helps people to better understand symptoms, as well as where to get adequate professional treatment. Mental health awareness is a developmental process.
Here are a number of reasons why mental health awareness is so important;
It Helps More People Get Professional Treatment
Mental health awareness avails people of more opportunities to get professional help in order to aid their recovery process. There are so many treatment options available for people with mental disorders, and they get to know about these through mental health awareness.
It Helps Stop the Stigma against People with Mental Health Illnesses
Undoubtedly, there’s been so much stigma against people with mental ilnesses, this is why mental health awareness is important as it helps stop that stigma and teaches people to be more loving and acceptable towards those suffering from mental health disorders.
It Reiterates the Fact That People Suffering from Mental Health Disorders are Not Alone
Absolutely! It’s important they know that they are not alone, and there are people out there who genuinely love and care for them, this can help their healing process. So, mental health awareness campaigns and programmes are important as it is a way of showing them love and telling them that they are not alone.
People with mental health conditions deserve all the love they can get, this is why mental health awareness is crucial as we are able to show love to them and enlighten people on doing same.
Correct Misconceptions around Mental Health
Mental health awareness help to correct various misconceptions people may have had or formed regarding mental health. It also helps to educate and enlighten people about mental health.
Mental health conditions can be treatment. So, it is important to seek professional help when you begin to see signs and symptoms of mental health disorder. Treatment of mental health conditions include;
- Medications such as antidepressants, anti-psychotic medications, mood-stabilizing medications
- Brain-stimulation treatments
- Support group
- Self-help plan
- Peer support.
Awareness is instrumental in the recovery process of mental health disorder.