How To Normalise Mental Health And Fight The Stigma
According to World Health Organization (WHO) 1/4 of people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.
Mental disorders are among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide.
From anxiety and depression to OCD and schizophrenia, mental health touches each of us in some way. Mental health issues are the main contributor to suicide, which claims the lives of nearly 50,000 people per year in the United States alone.
Thankfully, over recent years, mental health has slowly moved out of the shadows, but mental health is still a taboo topic.
Regardless of the increase in mental health awareness, many people are still too embarrassed to talk about it.
In this blog post, we will discuss some things you can do to raise awareness about mental health issues and challenge stigma.
Educate yourself and others about mental health
By definition, “awareness” means having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. To start raising mental health awareness, you must first consider educating yourself about it.
Mental illness can take many forms and therefore be hard to identify.
There are also many myths and misconceptions about mental illness that need to be debunked. By learning more about mental illness, you can help reduce the stigma surrounding it.
One of the common mental health myths include:
- Mental health problems don’t affect me
- People with mental health conditions cannot work
- Mental health problems are a sign of mental weakness
- Eating disorders only affect females
- Therapy and self-help are a waste of time
Once you understand mental health, you become a bit more careful with your language and think twice before saying “I feel depressed” when you are just a bit bored. Or call someone bipolar because they are just moody.
Knowledge is power.
Write or talk about your experience
The more people talk about mental health issues, the more normalised it becomes.
Writing about your experiences in a blog or in a publication is one way of doing it.
By sharing your story, you can help others feel less alone and more understood.
If you’re not a writer, you can still share your story by speaking to a friend or family member about your experiences. These mental health quotes to grow awareness could inspire your writing. Share Your Story On Social Media
Share your story on social media
This can be an image, a video, or text. It can be serious or it can be fun – however, you want to express yourself.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your own story, you can still help raise awareness by sharing articles, and other resources about mental health.
Whichever route you choose, the ultimate goal is to raise awareness and help people.
You are helping to normalise something that has been considered taboo for too long.
Write to your local MP to encourage certain legislation
Policy change is a real way you can make a difference in the lives of those living with mental health conditions in your country/state or area.
You can also get in touch with your local government officials and encourage them to officially recognise national mental health awareness events or pass legislation that will provide better access to care.
In your next election, you can consider voting for candidates who value improving mental health.
You can volunteer with a local authority organisation that provides support or services for those dealing with mental illness. This is a great way to learn more about the issue and actually help people in need.
You could also participate in a mental health walk or run. These events are usually held to raise money for mental health organisations and causes.
It’s a real way to show your support for those dealing with mental illness.
Organise a screening event at your workplace
If your company has mental health days, organise a screening about mental illness (this can be a film or a documentary).
This can be a great way to open up dialogue about mental health within your company and provide information about available resources.
Additionally, it can help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace and help those who are struggling feel more understood and supported.
At the end of the film, you can discuss the film or documentary and answer any questions people may have.
Take time for your own mental health
Be aware of your mental health, too. Practice self-care, rest, and relaxation.
Self-care can include having a career you find meaningful, having time for hobbies you love, maintaining strong bonds with people, exercising regularly, keeping mentally and physically fit, sleeping well etc.