We often hear others highlighting the importance of physical health to lead a fulfilling life. Our social media, for instance, is filled with celebrities promoting a newfound diet or a fitness program with others following the pursuit. However, mental health is one aspect of a healthy lifestyle that we fail to or are hesitant to bring up.
Our mental health involves our overall emotional and psychological wellness. It includes how we feel, act, and behave and directly impacts our physical wellbeing. We all have experienced specific episodes of depression or stress throughout our lives. It may be due to a change of environment, the ending of a relationship, or even losing a loved one. Some of us go through an acute phase of not being well mentally. Others might encounter a more chronic form of psychological illness like anxiety disorders that require professional assistance. However, most people prefer to suffer in silence than express what they are going through only because of society’s negative perceptions of such conditions. In situations like these, we must eliminate the stigma attached to mental health to make it easier for people to talk about it and seek help.
Read on to learn five viable ways through which we can eliminate mental health stigma.
It is best to be fully aware of your condition if you face symptoms that adversely affect your mental health. Gaining knowledge would help you understand the situation better and ultimately assist you in ways to minimize the adverse effects. One should always seek professional help instead of self-diagnosing their condition. Working with a certified therapist can do wonders in terms of boosting your psychological wellbeing.
If you know a loved one or friend going through a tough time, encourage them to seek professional help. Nonetheless, ensure to approach only credible professionals who can expertly determine their situation and help eliminate underlying issues. Several young individuals with a passion for community care are opting for online courses and degrees to tackle mental health issues. Therefore, it’s best to approach a psychiatric mental health nurse with masters in nursing online credentials to overcome your psychological problems effectively. These nurses are well-versed in getting to the root cause of mental health challenges and devising coping techniques.
It is essential to normalize the importance of a healthy mind and the growing onset of mental health illnesses. A wise step in doing so is to encourage communication to let others know that they are not alone. Talking about these issues promotes awareness and makes people more accepting of themselves and others.
Frequently people keep to themselves even when they know they could benefit from the support of a loved one. This hesitation stems from the fear of being rejected or snubbed even by their own family or friends. Thus, it is of utmost importance that we promote a culture of understanding and open communication. The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly been an eye-opener for most regarding the psychological state of the masses. A recent study showed that 41% of adults experienced anxiety or depression during the lockdown.
Be Mindful of Actions
Often, we consciously or unconsciously act in such a way or say certain things that can hamper the mental wellbeing of a person who is already going through issues like anxiety. Thus, we must be mindful of our actions and words as they significantly impact others around us. Research by NICHD indicates young people who either bully or experience bullying themselves are at a higher risk of suffering from a mental illness.
Avoid using phrases like “you will get over it” when someone is feeling low. Instead, choose words that ensure positivity, such as “you a doing a great job” or “I am here if you need any help.” If you encounter someone who regularly puts you or a loved one down, try educating them gently on the repercussions of their actions and behavior.
Be Part of a Campaign
Nowadays, most communities are aware of the importance of keeping both your mind and body fit. Many awareness campaigns run by organizations or states have thus been initiated. The sole purpose of the campaigns is to reduce the fear of mental illness and encourage people to seek prompt help in case of an emergency.
These campaigns are being encouraged at schools and colleges, with the increasing psychological disorders plaguing the younger population. A perfect example is the ‘Every Mind Matters’ campaign powered by the Royal College of GPs that initiated a ‘mind plan’ to teach individuals techniques for minimizing anxiety and stress. Campaigns like these are an effective way to increase acceptability, improve attitudes, and change negative perceptions to positive ones.
Share Your Experiences
Positive stories of recovery or strength provide immense motivation and help normalize the mental issues of the general public. Be open about sharing your personal experiences and journey with fighting a mental health issue on various platforms. It would encourage others to share their stories, ultimately creating a chain that spreads to a broader audience.
Internet, especially social media, is one such platform that is helping people connect with others suffering from psychosocial problems like social anxiety or eating disorders. A national survey conducted in 2020 found that almost 90% of young adults with symptoms consistent with depression seek help online through videos and blogs. It is an exceptional opportunity for us as a community to reach out and provide guidance or emotional support to those in need.
The prevalence of mental health stigma is everywhere, including homes, schools, and the workplace. But people are gradually learning about the significance of having a healthy mental state. It is upon us as a community to facilitate and actively participate in eradicating the stigma of mental disease and disorders.
By sharing our personal experiences, we motivate others to be more vocal about their issues. It ultimately helps reduce the negative associations attached to mental health amongst the general public.