Mental health is a complex topic. It’s not understood well and often subsided as not important. People who live with mental illnesses get blamed for their condition. They are not given the proper care and get told it’s just a phase. They’re also heavily discriminated against and not given the margin or space to get better. Stigma is awful. It pushes people to hate themselves and cower in shame. When society classifies mental health discussions as taboo, the effects ripple in the community.
Those who need help evade it and carry the burden of their condition through their life. The simple step of spreading awareness can change perspectives. When people understand mental health conditions better, they know how to react appropriately. So, if you wish to lend a shoulder and be an asset to someone, here’s how you can spread awareness:
- Talk about Mental Health Openly
Don’t try to sugarcoat mental health issues. Talk about them as freely and openly as possible. Use the appropriate terms and describe them as they are. If you mince your words and tiptoe around the issue, that will only add to the taboo. So, if the discussion steers toward mental health, make sure you talk about it. There are numerous places you can bring up the discussion. During seminars, if you’re speaking at a school or if you’re conducting a workshop. You can also talk about mental health with your family to give more importance to the issue.
- Educate Yourself More
You can’t know everything about mental health. Information about mental health is constantly changing. There are new facts and figures always coming to light. If you want to educate yourself in the field of health, you can go for further studies. For instance, you can opt for MPH online programs to help the community deal with mental health issues. Fortunately, online education allows you to study at your own pace from the comfort of your house.
The more you learn, the better you can become an asset for people with mental health conditions. You will know how to think and act around them and how to prevent their conditioning from worsening.
- Push for Equality Between Physical Illnesses and Mental Illness
Physical illnesses get given much importance. When someone has a fracture, they go to the ER. However, mental health issues do not get treated the same way. People struggling with mental health issues are not taken seriously. They get told to get over it. No one is also willing to pay attention to their symptoms and accuse them of lying. If someone has a physical injury, they never get told to get over it or ignore their signs. If the wound bleeds, the bleeding gets stopped. Mental health is the same. Just because you can’t see the injury doesn’t mean it’s not there. So, if someone comes to you with complaints about fatigue, exhaustion, and even migraine, could you pay attention to them?
- Choose to Empower People
Don’t ever let anyone feel ashamed for approaching you. If a person has a problem with their mental health, choose to empower them. That means if they want to talk to you about their health, don’t dismiss them. It will also help if you give them real-life examples of people who went through mental health crises. Don’t let them feel isolated. Isolation is lethal. It can make you feel more dejected and rejected. Someone going through mental issues may also be confused about how they feel. You can help tone down some of the confusion and make them feel more understood. Empowerment also includes connecting them to the appropriate mental health resources. These include counselors and therapists.
- Go on Media
Media plays a significant role in our lives. From news to movies, our opinions get colored. So how the media chooses to portray mental health will get picked up by the public. So, it would help if you make yourself proactive and go on media channels. Go on the news and special programs on mental health. Talk about the degrading language media uses. Let people know it’s not all in their heads, and they need help. The minute efforts you put in can make a significant difference in people’s life. You can also mainstream your videos on platforms such as youtube. The more awareness you create, the better people will get with mental health issues.
- Don’t Propagate Stigma
To have doubts is natural. You may have grown up with certain beliefs about mental health. However, you owe it to yourself and others around you to learn. If you hurt someone with your lack of knowledge, make sure you acknowledge that; let them know that you were wrong. If you withhold apologizing, you’re setting a low benchmark for yourself. No one should have to carry the weight of your words. If you also don’t know a subject, make sure you don’t pretend otherwise. Lying or misinforming others is a dangerous habit. You may end up creating a bigger problem than the original stigma. So never choose to spread information without verification
- Show Compassion
A little kindness goes a long way. Dealing with someone who has a mental illness is not a battle of the wits. You are not here to make them feel a certain way. Show compassion. Be kind to them. If they need help at home, make sure you help them out. Listen to them and try to make sense of what they’re trying to tell you. If the person has a mental illness that can hurt themselves, you may want to intervene. However, you should know the proper methods of intervention instead of jumping in. If they need extra help, get a trained nurse who specializes in mental health issues. Part of showing compassion is being attentive to their needs. So along with emotional support, make sure you can keep them safe and in good shape when possible.
Mental health issues are taboo in society. There is too much stigma surrounding them. There needs fixing at the grassroots level, and you need to work your way up. It would be best if you also showed compassion and empathy every step of the way. Try teaching people about mental health and even push for mental health advocacy. If you’re supporting someone with mental health issues, make sure you know the language you’re using. It will also help if you use the right resources to make sure proper help gets administered.