The Truth About Mental Health and Illnesses: Mental Health is Important

The month of may is celebrated as the Mental Health Month in the United States since the year 1949. It was started by the National Association For Mental Health, now known as Mental Health America.

In the month of may people reach out to each other and talk about mental health, and conduct various activities related to mental health and awareness. Every year the theme of discussion is different. For example, the theme of 2016 was "Life With A Mental Illness" and that of 2017 was "Risky business". 

This year's theme is "Fitness #4Mind4Body". 

They are making an effort this year by sharing information about food, exercises, stress etc, and also there is a Fitness #4Mind4Body challenge, which is pretty cool. More details are available on their website.

Interestingly, Mental Health America was actually established by a psychiatric patient, Clifford W. Beers, whose experience with ill-treatment, personally and on others, made him start a reform movement.

After all, someone can only be empathetic if they've been in the same shoes as the other.

While it's great that we have a month dedicated to mental health awareness, and to reach out and help people with mental illness, the work actually required in support of mental health and awareness is not a month job. It requires long term efforts and commitment.

So, in honour of Mental Health Awareness Month and the efforts of Mental Health America, I'm going to make efforts from my side in enlightening whoever read this, about mental health, why it is important to take care of your mental health, and how you can help someone with mental illness.

Mental Health Facts:

The Important Thing To Note Here Is That Mental Illnesses Are Pretty Common,
Yet Not Getting As Much Attention As It Needs
Now, let me get it out straight, we're ignorant!

Mental disorders are now in rise, not that you already didn't know, but yet we are not paying much attention to it; doesn't matter whether we are the ones suffering or someone we know.

We tend to ignore it until it's at its full blown stage. And then we panic thinking to ourselves "we should've gone to the therapist earlier".

Well, guess what. You probably were given fair amount of hints to recognize that something's not right.

Now this is the thing about mental illnesses; no mental disorder is "acute", meaning it never just abruptly happens. There are always some prolonged stress acting that ultimately causes the problem.

And so if you tell me that "I don't know, her depression just came out of nowhere", I'm not going to believe you. That's a lie. You didn't know maybe, but that is a lie.

Maybe you didn't notice, and they didn't tell anything, but they probably were suffering inside from a pretty long time.

Mental Illness Fact

Ignorance Should Not Be Bliss, When It Comes To Mental Health

Ignorance is not right when it comes to mental illnesses. 

In fact, the reason that a stigma exists and people are scared to openly talk about it is ignorance.

Think about this, sometime ago people were scared to talk about cancer just like they are now with mental illness. I have a writer buddy who suffered from cancer several years ago, and she told me that her illness caused her loss of friends. 

Just because she had the disease, her friends stopped talking to her. That was a time, when there was a stigma to cancer. 

Now, people very openly talk about it, share their journey, help out people with cancer, organize fundraisers etc. 

So what happened? What caused this change? I'll tell you what on the subject. Awareness.

People now know a lot about cancer, different types of cancer and how they can help someone with cancer. They cannot prescribe the medication to them, but they can for sure provide the mental and emotional support to a cancer patients. 

And this is what is happening now. People are choosing to help.

You know the oily, fried food is bad for your health. It causes obesity, and thus originating many other diseases. Now, we know it's the unhealthy food causing the problem. And since we know what the problem is, we can figure out the solution. You eat well, you exercise. This is why knowledge is necessary.

How can you know what necessary steps you need to take, when you don't even recognize the problem, and what's causing it?

In a study, 47% participants said that they would be uncomfortable living next door to someone with mental illness, and in the same study 41% people said they would be uncomfortable working with someone with a mental disorder.

Why is it so? Why people avoid people with mental sickness? Are they afraid they will get it too? Well, mental illnesses are not communicable diseases.

So then, are they scared of being hit by them? Well, my psychiatry professor in undergrad on the very first day of our class said that the number of incidences of mentally ill people hitting someone is far far less than a normal person hitting someone.

I've worked in psychiatric ward full of with patients ranging from depression to full blown mania. And I was never attacked, nor did I ever hear during my entire internship that someone was hit any patient. At most, I've seen them trying to run away.

So why is there hesitancy? Why is there this discrimination?

The reason is people don't understand mental disorders.

Here are some data, collected through several studies across the world.

People are not informed about mental disorders.

Ignorance is the reason that mental illnesses are considered a sign of weakness.

Ignorance is the reason that people with mental disorders are not getting any treatment.

Ignorance is the reason that million of people are suffering in silence.

Ignorance is the reason that suicide rates are hiking every year.

Need I say more?

Mental Illness Fact

Why Is It Important To Take Care Of Your Mental Health

Well, it's simple.

You have a mental health, and you need to take care of it.

Just like your physical health.

Sure you can't see it, unlike your body, but it's there.

According to WHO, mental health is defined as,

"a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community."

A good mental health can help you overcome the things we physically and mentally go through every single day. We live in a stressful world. Healthy mind is what's going to help you cope up with everyday stress.

A good mental health gives you a sense on well-being and inner-strength.

You need it to live a fully-functional, happy life.

We Need To Pay Attention

A few days ago I was scrolling through my reddit feed, and I came across a post which was from a college student. 

He posted that he knows that something is wrong; the way he is feeling is not right. He was certain that he needs to see a therapist, for good. But the problem was he couldn't afford to pay for a therapist. The only way he could pay was through his parent's insurance, as he was still on his parent's insurance. But his parents were just not agreeing with him that he has a problem.

They brushed aside what he said by saying that, "you're just sad and need to get over it, because your life is all well and good"; the literal words used by him.

He was out there, asking for how he can take care of the situation without a therapist.

Now, I was happy to see that he is making an effort from his side to take care of his mental health. But this whole thing proved a point: people do not have an acceptable behaviour towards mental illness.

His parents probably, either, didn't know that depression is real, or didn't want the tag of "mental illness" on their son. It can only be one of these two.

This is the reason why mental health awareness is important. People don't consider mental illness as mental illness. They think it's all in their head.

Well, yes it's in their head, but not like how you think.

If someone is not screaming and being violent, people won't consider it a mental illness. 

According to a recent study, the rate of severe depression in youth have increased from 5.9 to 8.2 in just a span of 3 years, from 2012-2015.

The problem is very rapidly increasing.

Don't ignore. With statistics being 1 in 4, you probably know someone who is right now affected with some or other kind of mental disorder, if it's not you. 

I've witnessed myself at the hospital how little support mentally ill people get. Their friends and family don't believe them, and when brought to the hospital, they mostly think that the patient's life is doomed, and that they won't get better ever.

This should not be the attitude.

Mental Illness Facts

How You Can Help Someone Who Has Mental Illness

Well, first of all, notice.

Don't be one of those 47% jerks who are not comfortable living next to someone with mental illness, or one of those 41% douche-bags who don't feel comfortable working with people with mental disorders.

You can only understand it more when you actually start helping someone, because then you can see it's a battle in itself.

Because of the stigma associated with it: 
  1. people shy away from coming forward, which results in failure of getting treatment.
  2. from personal experience I can say that, even when they do come to the doctor they still can't open up about it and express themselves comfortably.

What you should do?

  1. Take responsibility.
  2. Educate yourself about the common mental illnesses, and notice the people around you. If you see that someone is acting differently in recent days, talk to them about it. 
  3. Don't be the above mentioned jerks.
  4. Help spread the words.
  5. Be kind, and try to be supportive to those who are going through a hard time.
  6. If it is someone you are not close to, or don't know well, then let their close ones know and motivate them to speak with them.
  7. And if you can't do these things, just stay out of their way!
That's all.

Take part in awareness, make efforts from you side. Help clear the "stigma". 

Because who knows, maybe tomorrow the victim would be you.

Mental Health Facts

More On Depression:

© Quirky Writes

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the informative post. And I totally agree mental health is something we need to talk about more and more openly. Ignorance is not the answer. Thanks for sharing.


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