What is mental health? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.” Clearly, mental health and wellness are essential to living a fulfilling and happy life, but they are often taken for granted or completely ignored. While there is often focus on physical health, many people ignore their mental health because it goes unseen. Ignoring mental health only enhances its stigma and progresses any underlying issues due to a lack of attention on such a vital aspect of life.
Mental health awareness is a cause intended to remind people how important mental health is to overall wellness. May is even Mental Health Awareness month dedicated to fighting the stigma around mental illnesses and treatment. Although mental illness and mental health are not as taboo as they once were, there is still a lot of work to be done regarding acceptance. Many people still consider seeking help for their mental health as embarrassing or shameful. The longer these assumptions are accepted, the more damage is done to those who truly need assistance. Only about half of those dealing with mental health struggles get the help they need. That is both due to the stigma and accessibility. Nevertheless, those go hand in hand. The more mental health awareness there is, the more likely there is to be accessible and affordable mental health care available. Without awareness, untreated mental health issues only continue to worsen over time, leading to co-occurring disorders like addiction.
Mental illnesses like depression are one of the most common forms of disability in the nation. As mental health continues to waiver due to the pandemic and financial struggles, it is more crucial than ever to ensure that mental health awareness is a priority. Seeking help for mental health should be just as urgent as it is for physical health. Caring for yourself with the help of others is the best way to recover and live your best life, yet it is still not as widely expected as it should be.
Not only do those with mental illnesses tend to have a higher risk of physical issues like heart disease or substance abuse, but untreated mental illnesses also increase those odds. The National Alliance on Mental Illness claims that mental illnesses and substance use disorders are linked to one out of every eight adult emergency room visits. Increasing mental health awareness can motivate those struggling with their mental health to seek help and speak about their troubles openly without fear of rejection or judgment. A review of social media campaigns on mental health found that these platforms offer changes in user behaviors. They are highly effective in motivating people to make small actions to improve their mental health. The public sharing of one’s story and mental illness, which can often go unseen, supports fighting social stigma around the topic.
When people avoid conversations around mental health, the stigma and judgment continue to spread. That stigma leads to:
People tend to avoid seeking help or even addressing their issues at all when they are influenced by mental health stigma. Yet, mental illnesses are treatable. Those who suffer from minor to severe mental health issues go on to live fulfilling and productive lives. Still, their issues can become more severe and lead to disorders like an addiction when untreated.
Supporting and participating in open discussions regarding mental health and wellness normalizes their existence and importance. Placing a focus on mental health without friend groups and even at work encourages people to open up, take care of themselves, and seek help when they need it. When you are afraid to admit you are struggling with something like anxiety or depression, hesitating to speak about it only enhances those negative feelings and distances you from your support system.
Learning what you can about mental health from reliable sources helps you understand how common mental illnesses are and how treatable they are. Misconceptions of mental illness like believing those struggling are crazy or that therapy is only for people at the end of their rope are damaging. Absorbing new facts and sharing information in person or online brings awareness and helps debunk myths and false assumptions regarding mental health.
The stigma surrounding mental health may be lessening with further education and online campaigns, but there is still a lot of growth needed. Mental health awareness is critical for the loved ones of those suffering. It is vital for those dealing with mental health struggles to feel seen, heard, and worthy of help and love. Mental health awareness is also a significant aspect of enhancing the availability and accessibility of mental health treatment to those who need it most. This is important for policymakers, healthcare providers, and the everyday person needing help. Without proper access to mental health interventions, such issues can lead to addiction and physical ailments. Mental health awareness encourages treatment, openness, and communication leading to equal opportunities for happiness. Here at California Care Detox & Treatment, we encourage our clients to discuss their worries, struggles, and successes during their stay to promote improved mental health. Call us today at (949) 281-0632 for more help.