The Importance of Mental Health Awareness
Mental health is as important as your physical well being. However, people often overlook this and some even deny the very existence of bad mental health. Due to this, it has become difficult to spot the people struggling with their mental health. They can be your colleagues, your neighbor, a family member, or even someone who you think is all good and fine.
Studies show that nearly 19% of the adult population and approximately 46% of teenagers are affected by mental health illnesses worldwide. What’s noticeable is the fact that only half of them receive medical attention while the other half remains silent due to the disgrace attached to mental health illnesses. It is a disease which if gone untreated, could cause potential loss to concentration power, higher medical expenses, poor performance at work, and increased risk of suicide in some cases.
What is Mental Illness?
It is a medical condition that affects the brain and alters a person’s ability to think, behave, and perform things rationally. Mental illness can even make it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. Various medical researches are now starting to explain the potential ways a person can develop mental illness. Some of these include brain chemistry and structure, genetics, recent experience with trauma, and having an existing medical condition.
Even though there are quite a few mental health conditions, the two most common ones are:
- Mood Disorders
As the name says, this condition is characterized by an individual’s difficulty in regulating his/her mood. The condition, for example, depression and bipolar depression, is so common that it affects nearly 10% of adults every year.
- Anxiety Disorders
Trapping more than 18% of adults each year, this type of mental health disorder is the most common of them all. It includes PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), phobias, panic attacks, and general anxiety issues.
The Importance of Creating Awareness
As said, almost half of the cases associated with mental health are left unattended. A majority of these cases are due to the stigma that comes with this disease. Although, the condition has improved over the past few decades and more people are coming forward, but the situation needs to be improved even further. Various studies show that misconception regarding mental illness is still powerful, mainly due to a lack of education and hyped up media stereotypes.
The reason why awareness for mental health has now become prominent than ever. Eliminating negativity surfacing around mental illnesses can motivate more patients and their family members to come forward and seek medical attention. Awareness targets the very idea of how society creates a stigma that shames the mentally suffering, and a community whose aim is to shut and reject the acceptance of those who are different. Awareness is all about pointing flaws in the ideology of these people, and make them understand why it is imperative to treat mental illness at the earliest.
It can also help create more improvements for the patients. If the public raises their voice and brings everyone’s attention to this issue, it can result in big changes for the mentally ill. The changes can be related to policies, research, development, or anything that can benefit the patients. Raising awareness can cause more demand which in turn can attract more funding for the necessities regarding this health condition.
One more crucial thing that pushes the patients back from revealing their mental state is the attitude of those around them. Many people still believe that the mentally ill are either lazy or are making it up. In some cases, even family members blatantly ignore the mental state of someone among their own families. This attitude of relating mental suffering to lazy behavior is catastrophic. The more delay there is to seek medical attention, the more risk you are putting your loved ones into. And the cause of this attitude? Lack of awareness. Thus, it is important to educate more people about the harmful effects of mental health and that it can potentially damage the usual functioning of a healthy brain. Raising awareness can curb numerous misconceptions about this issue.
Mental health awareness is not a one day, one week, or a one-month event. It is something that constantly needs to be fed to the community so that they understand the consequences of not intervening. It should reach more people frequently so that people treat mental illnesses as disease and not just a state of mind. Awareness can increase the chances of an early intervention that can help a patient recover quickly. Once too late, a mental breakdown can become deadly like any other harmful disease. And do we want that as humans? Absolutely not.
Again, it is wrong to say there is no ounce of awareness about this issue. There is. And the reason why mental health conditions are now viewed as illnesses that are cured and managed by treatments. All we need to do is aware more people, reach out to the ones who are at the extreme end of the line, and educate them. Isolating mental disorders from diseases like cancer, diabetes, etc is not a wise thing to do.
Knowledge has the power to change the world. And awareness is a way to enrich those with little or no knowledge about this issue so that they can help others. The more we educate, the more power we spread. Awareness is all about what mental health is and how those affected and their families can receive the help they need. And, it does not end here. We must not stop educating ourselves so that we are well-updated about such issues and pass the information to the ones who need it. Self-initiated steps like these are the real awareness our world needs right now.