It's impossible to talk about health and fitness without bringing up mental health. Mental disease or mental health disorder affects nearly one out of every five adults in the United States, roughly translating to about 52 million people!
Awareness of mental health issues makes it simpler to identify and treat these people when they are young. These people could be our fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, neighbours, friends, or even ourselves.
With our timely or early intervention, our loved one get the treatment they need, thus reducing the recovery time significantly. Mental health allows us to not only manage with problems and obstacles in our lives, such as stress, but also to live the life we desire and enjoy every minute of it.
It is just as vital for those who do not have a mental illness to look after their mental health as it is for those who do. Pay attention to any bodily symptoms, as well as signals of stress, emotions, and mental well-being.
Sadly, the term mental health still carries the ‘stigma’ perception even in this time and age. This makes awareness about one’s mental health and recognition of effective mental health initiatives all the more crucial.
Similarly, awareness about how mental health issues tend to take a heavy toll on our well-being, as well as those around us, helps us eliminate the hurdles in educating the masses on this rampant problem and ways to cope with it.
But first, it's crucial to understand what mental health actually is before we go any farther with the subject.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, according to mentalhealth.gov and the CDC. It has an impact on the way we think, feel, and act.
It also influences how we deal with stress, interact with others, and make decisions. Mental health is crucial at all stages of life, including childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational reliance, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential are just a few of the factors that go into mental health.
Mental health may involve an individual's ability to enjoy life and build a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience, according to positive psychology or holism perspectives.
In spite of the fact that the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not synonymous. A person's mental health can deteriorate without being diagnosed with a mental condition.
If your loved one is also suffering from a mental health issue, you must be aware of how they face numerous challenges – ranging from emotional and physical to social – in their everyday lives.
In comparison to poor mental health, mental disorders are serious illnesses that affect your ability to think, feel, and behave. They might be short-term or long-term. They can have an impact on your capacity to interact with others and function on a daily basis.
More than half of all Americans will be diagnosed with a mental condition at some point in their lives. However, there are therapies available. Mentally ill people can improve, and many of them recover entirely.
What is Mental Health Awareness?
One out of every five people, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), has or is experiencing mental illness symptoms.
With awareness about their mental health, these millions of people in the United States (and elsewhere in the world) would be able to live better lives and know ways to cope – or learn to happily live with – their mental health challenges.
People often suffer in silence and their conditions go untreated due to misconceptions about mental health and mental fitness. Mental health awareness is a vital social movement aimed at improving the society’s understanding of the problem, as well as enhancing people’s access to relevant healthcare resources.
As a result, encouraging mental health treatment and behavioural health requires a high level of mental health knowledge. It's a vital and foundational discussion for moving toward a more proactive mental health strategy.
Mental health awareness also helps to remove the stigma associated with these individuals. Stigma may fade away if we are conscious of its limitations and strengths. The community's beliefs and thoughts are referred to as stigma.
It stigmatises the mentally ill, creating a community where minds are shut off and acceptance of individuals who are "different" is rejected.
With more awareness, such people may benefit significantly as it would attract the right kind of attention from all stakeholders. This focus could also lead to major advancements in legislation, research, and service development with regard to mental health.
How does Mental Health Awareness Help?
It's critical to be aware of your overall health so that you can spot any symptoms and get professional care if necessary.
While most people understand the symptoms and treatment options for common illnesses that affect their loved ones – e.g. the flu, migraines, or (most recently) COVID-19 – many people are unsure how to care for their mental health.
Raising mental health awareness can help you understand your symptoms, receive expert support, and, perhaps most significantly, break the stigma surrounding mental illness that keeps so many people suffering in silence.
Here are a few ways that mental health awareness might aid people in preventing or treating mental health illnesses.
- Helps you know your symptoms
Many people who suffer from mental health issues are unaware that their problem is caused by leaving the condition untreated. Being aware of your mental health issues may help you better comprehend your symptoms, and thus explore the right ways to treat it.
Changes in sleeping habits, suicidal thoughts, decreased eating, impulsive decision making, substance addiction, and other signals to watch for are just a few.
You'll be able to tell when you need to get help if you recognise these symptoms. These triggers, on the other hand, only work when you are conscious of your mental state.
- Helps you start a conversation
Stigma, unfortunately, breeds in silence. It also makes it harder to get help at work or in other situations where a mental health diagnosis may make things more difficult.
Many mental health disorders can be relieved by forming a support network and communicating with a registered mental health practitioner.
- Helps you access mental health resources
You should know what to do if you feel like you need help if you're aware of your mental health and possible triggers and red flags.
In that case, you should be aware that there are numerous services available to assist you in dealing with your situation. Mental health facilities, behavioural health programmes, emergency assistance, crisis service care, support groups, therapies, and other resources are among them.
You will have all of the services you need in a mental health hospital to recover from mental health illnesses, heal from co-occurring disorders, and learn how to maintain your health following treatment.
- Helps you break the associated stigma
When you're aware of your own or others' mental health, you endeavour to combat the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses. And by being aware of mental health issues and the obstacles they entail, you may help to create a society that is more empathetic to the people with whom they come into contact on a daily basis
And if you're dealing with mental health concerns, you'll find that you're not alone with more awareness and the correct mental health care. You'll be one step closer to mental health recovery if you have mental health support.
How can you improve your Mental Health?
What role can individuals, particularly non-clinicians, play in raising mental health awareness? A key part of it is learning to openly talk and share about mental health.
Mental and emotional health disorders can affect everyone, and many of us will experience them at some point in our lives. If you (or a loved one) also has mental health challenges, the following tips can help you improve your mood, become more resilient, and lead a better life.
- Speak up for yourself
When was the last time you saw someone taking a mental health day? And how often do you see them admit it openly? Many of us believe that our bodily well-being takes precedence over our mental well-being.
- Make social connections
Although talking to a friend or family member over phone or connecting with them via social networks help you feel better, the best option is still is the good old face-to-face interaction.
- Beware of warning signs
Keeping an eye on your own warning signs might help you recognise when you’re becoming triggered or overwhelmed. If you come across resources that may be useful to others, share them with your friends and family.
- Stay active
Staying active is beneficial to both the mind and the body. Regular exercise or activity can help you enhance your mental and emotional health, as well as relieve stress, improve your memory, and sleep better.
- Learn about mental health
Take the time to educate yourself on mental health and fitness. But, more importantly, learn to distinguish between the two. Learn about common mental health concerns, burnout symptoms, and how to care for yourself if you're suffering from any of them.
- Make leisure and contemplation a priority
Leisure time is critical for emotional and mental health. As you go about your day, take some time to relax, reflect, and notice the positive aspects – even the minor ones.
- Take ample sleep
It is more important than you may believe. Taking a break from the digital world — phone, tablet, or computer, or even TV — in the two hours before the night is one way to improve sleep.
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