Mental Health Awareness

Mental health awareness

Verified by World Mental Healthcare Association

Mental health awareness refers to recognizing the significance of maintaining good mental health and well-being. It involves promoting knowledge of the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and disorders, as well as the benefits of seeking help and treatment when needed.

What is Mental Health Awareness?

The foundation of mental health awareness lies in the continuous effort 1 The Lancet Global Health (2020). Mental health matters. The Lancet. Global health, 8(11), e1352. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30432-0 to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health conditions. By sharing personal experiences, we can combat the misunderstandings and misconceptions about mental health and wellness that often lead individuals to suffer silently without seeking proper treatment.

Globally, approximately 20% of adults 2 Henderson, C., Evans-Lacko, S., & Thornicroft, G. (2013). Mental illness stigma, help seeking, and public health programs. American journal of public health, 103(5), 777–780. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2012.301056 have mental health conditions, and only one in eight adults receive mental health treatment. Therefore, this social movement plays a crucial role in enhancing public understanding and promoting better access to healthcare services for individuals struggling with mental health issues.

Moreover, mental health awareness is essential in promoting the mental health and well-being of individuals and communities while also reducing the negative impact of mental health problems on individuals, families, and society as a whole.

Educating the public about the various mental health disorders, their causes, and available treatments is an integral part of the importance of mental health awareness.

Objectives of Mental Health Awareness

Why is Mental Health Awareness Important?

Mental Health Awareness Month educates people 3 Hao, Z., Liu, M., & Ge, X. (2019). Evaluating the impact of health awareness events on Google search frequency. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100887. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.100887 about the impact of mental illness on individuals’ lives, regardless of their personal experiences. It also highlights available services and resources for those with mental health issues and ways to advocate for mental health.

Raising mental health awareness and engaging in its related activities is important for several reasons, such as:

1. To Reduce Stigma

The stigma surrounding mental health can prevent individuals 4 Rössler W. (2016). The stigma of mental disorders: A millennia-long history of social exclusion and prejudices. EMBO reports, 17(9), 1250–1253. https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.201643041 from seeking help and can lead to discrimination. Raising awareness can help reduce stigma and promote acceptance and understanding.

2. To Increase Access to Resources

Many people may not know where to turn for help with mental health issues. Raising awareness can help connect people to resources and support services.

3. To Promote Early Intervention

Early intervention is crucial for treating 5 Singh, V., Kumar, A., & Gupta, S. (2022). Mental Health Prevention and Promotion-A Narrative Review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 13, 898009. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.898009 mental health issues. By raising awareness and promoting early intervention, we can help individuals receive treatment before their symptoms worsen.

4. To Improve Overall Well-being

Mental health issues can impact all aspects 6 Cloninger C. R. (2006). The science of well-being: an integrated approach to mental health and its disorders. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 5(2), 71–76. of an individual’s life, including relationships, work, and physical health. Raising awareness and promoting mental health can improve overall well-being and quality of life.

5. To Reduce the Economic Impact

Mental health awareness presents a chance for fundraising 7 Knapp, M., & Wong, G. (2020). Economics and mental health: the current scenario. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 19(1), 3–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20692 , outreach, and awareness activities, which can aid in financing treatment options, supporting research, and bringing advocates together to establish a more optimistic and promising future for mental health care.

Myths and Facts Related to Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness in Different Stages of Life

Here are some considerations for mental health awareness in different stages of life:

1. Childhood

Mental health awareness during childhood is crucial 8 García-Carrión, R., Villarejo-Carballido, B., & Villardón-Gallego, L. (2019). Children and Adolescents Mental Health: A Systematic Review of Interaction-Based Interventions in Schools and Communities. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 918. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00918 . It sets the foundation for future mental health and helps children develop resilience. Awareness can also reduce the risk of mental health issues that can arise in adulthood.

Read More About Childhood Here

2. Adolescence

Mental health awareness is crucial during adolescence because this is a critical period of development when young people undergo significant physical, emotional, and social changes. Adolescents may also face various challenges 9 Hellström, L., & Beckman, L. (2021). Life Challenges and Barriers to Help Seeking: Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Voices of Mental Health. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(24), 13101. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413101 and stressors, such as academic pressures, peer relationships, family conflict, and identity formation.

It is essential to be aware of the possibility of schizophrenia during adolescence because early intervention is critical for preventing the symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, and social withdrawal.

3. Adulthood

Mental health awareness during adulthood helps recognize signs and symptoms 10 Jurewicz I. (2015). Mental health in young adults and adolescents – supporting general physicians to provide holistic care. Clinical medicine (London, England), 15(2), 151–154. https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.15-2-151 , seek treatment, and develop healthy coping strategies.

Additionally, mental health awareness can help to understand the cultural and contextual dimensions of mental-health conditions of youth, making it easier to increase the understanding of the support system without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Read More About Adultery Here

4. Old Age

Mental health awareness is important in older age 11 de Mendonça Lima, C. A., & Ivbijaro, G. (2013). Mental health and wellbeing of older people: opportunities and challenges. Mental health in family medicine, 10(3), 125–127. because as individuals age, they may face physical and cognitive decline, as well as loss of loved ones and social isolation, which can increase the risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

To increase awareness of mental health in older age, it is important to educate older adults 12 Schneider, J. K., & Cook, J. H., Jr (2005). Planning psychoeducational groups for older adults. Journal of gerontological nursing, 31(8), 33–38. https://doi.org/10.3928/0098-9134-20050801-12 and their caregivers about the signs and symptoms of mental health issues which can be done through community programs, educational initiatives, and outreach efforts.

Men’s and Women’s Mental Health Awareness

Men and women may require different mental health approaches as they face mental health challenges differently, such as:

1. Gender Differences

Men and women experience different types 13 Otten, D., Tibubos, A. N., Schomerus, G., Brähler, E., Binder, H., Kruse, J., Ladwig, K. H., Wild, P. S., Grabe, H. J., & Beutel, M. E. (2021). Similarities and Differences of Mental Health in Women and Men: A Systematic Review of Findings in Three Large German Cohorts. Frontiers in public health, 9, 553071. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.553071 of mental health issues. Women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, while men are more likely to experience substance abuse and addiction. Additionally, men are less likely to seek help for mental health issues than women, which can lead to a greater risk of suicide and other negative outcomes.

2. Stigma Associated with a Particular Gender

There is still a significant stigma associated with 14 Khan, N., Kausar, R., Khalid, A., & Farooq, A. (2015). Gender differences among discrimination & stigma experienced by depressive patients in Pakistan. Pakistan journal of medical sciences, 31(6), 1432–1436. https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.316.8454 mental health issues for both men and women, but the stigma can manifest differently depending on gender.

For example, women may be more likely to be labeled as “emotional” or “overreacting” when seeking help for mental health issues, while men may be labeled as “weak” or “unmanly” for seeking help. This can prevent individuals from seeking help and contribute to the negative impact of mental health issues.

3. Promoting Gender Equality

The importance of mental health awareness may promote gender equality 15 Yu S. (2018). Uncovering the hidden impacts of inequality on mental health: a global study. Translational psychiatry, 8(1), 98. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-018-0148-0 by reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues and encouraging individuals of all genders to seek help when needed.

Why Mental Health Awareness Month is Celebrated?

Every year on October 10th 16 World mental health day. (2010). Mental health in family medicine, 7(2), 123. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2939461/ , World mental health day is celebrated to raise global awareness about mental health issues. Since its inception in 1992, this day has gained significant recognition worldwide. The color green, symbolizing hope, life, and renewal, is associated with this day.

In addition to World mental health day, May is recognized as mental health awareness month and the goals for celebrating 17 Ervine H. S. (2021). May is Mental Health Awareness Month. AORN journal, 113(5), 447–449. https://doi.org/10.1002/aorn.13390 mental health awareness month include:

  • To raise awareness about the importance of mental health and mental illness.
  • To reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
  • To promote understanding and empathy for people with mental health conditions.
  • To encourage individuals to seek help when needed.
  • To advocate for improved mental health resources and support services.
  • To increase knowledge about mental health issues and treatments facilities.

How to Spread Awareness about Mental Health

There are several ways to build awareness 18 Latha, K., Meena, K. S., Pravitha, M. R., Dasgupta, M., & Chaturvedi, S. K. (2020). Effective use of social media platforms for promotion of mental health awareness. Journal of education and health promotion, 9, 124. https://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_90_20 about the importance of mental health, such as:

  • Promote mental health education in schools and workplaces.
  • Organize mental health awareness events and activities in the community.
  • Share stories and experiences of individuals with mental health issues to reduce stigma and promote understanding.
  • Encourage open communication and discussion about mental health among family and friends.
  • Use social media and other platforms to raise awareness about mental health issues and resources.
  • Train healthcare professionals and first responders to recognize and respond to mental health crises.
  • Advocate for improved access to mental health resources and support services.
  • Participating in mental health campaigns focused on a specific theme or day such as self-care awareness, stress awareness, etc.

How to Promote Mental Health Awareness?

Incorporating the ways to promote mental health awareness in everyday life 19 Siddique, M. A. B., Ovi, M. R., Ahammed, T., Chowdhury, M. A. B., & Uddin, M. J. (2022). Mental health knowledge and awareness among university students in Bangladesh. Heliyon, 8(10), e11084. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11084 include:

1. Practice Self-care

Make self-care a priority in your daily routine. This can include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking breaks when needed.

2. Be Mindful of Your Mental Health

Pay attention to your mental health and how you are feeling on a regular basis. If you notice changes or struggles, seek help from a mental health professional.

Read More About Mindfulness Here

3. Educate Yourself

Read up on mental health issues and resources so you can recognize symptoms, understand treatments, and advocate for yourself and others.

4. Speak Up

Don’t be afraid to talk openly about mental health and share your experiences or knowledge with others. This can help reduce stigma and promote understanding.

5. Prioritize Mental Health in Relationships

Encourage open communication and support mental health in your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.

6. Create a Safe Space

Foster a safe and supportive environment where mental health can be discussed and addressed without judgment or stigma.

7. The Daily Practice of Yoga and Meditation

Regular yoga and meditation practice can help 20 Woodyard C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International journal of yoga, 4(2), 49–54. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.85485 you to reduce stress and promote overall mental health and well-being.

Read More About Meditation Here

8. Practice Empathy and Compassion

Show empathy and compassion towards others who may be struggling with mental health issues.

Read More About Empathy Here

9. Take a Mental Health Screening

Taking a mental health screening can 21 Whitton, A. E., Hardy, R., Cope, K., Gieng, C., Gow, L., MacKinnon, A., Gale, N., O’Moore, K., Anderson, J., Proudfoot, J., Cockayne, N., O’Dea, B., Christensen, H., & Newby, J. M. (2021). Mental Health Screening in General Practices as a Means for Enhancing Uptake of Digital Mental Health Interventions: Observational Cohort Study. Journal of medical Internet research, 23(9), e28369. https://doi.org/10.2196/28369 be a proactive step in managing your mental health. It can help identify any potential mental health concerns early on, providing an opportunity to seek the appropriate treatment and support you need.

10. Join as a Volunteer in a Mental Health Camp

Try to involve in a mental health camp or community event 22 Hallett, C., Klug, G., Lauber, C., & Priebe, S. (2012). Volunteering in the care of people with severe mental illness: a systematic review. BMC psychiatry, 12, 226. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-12-226 as a volunteer which can help raising awareness about mental health issues and promote access to resources and support for the affected people.

Takeaway

Promoting mental health awareness is essential in reducing stigma and encouraging individuals to seek help when needed. It can be integrated into daily life by prioritizing mental health in relationships, creating a safe space for discussion, supporting mental health initiatives, practicing self-care, and cultivating empathy. These steps will make it easier to promote mental health and well-being for everyone.

At A Glance

  1. Mental health awareness is important for reducing stigma, promoting understanding, and improving access to resources and support services.
  2. Mental health awareness can be incorporated into everyday life through self-care, education, empathy, speaking up, supporting mental health initiatives, prioritizing mental health in relationships, and creating a safe space for discussion.
  3. Mental health awareness is essential in all phases of life, including childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.
  4. Men’s and women’s mental health awareness differ regarding stigma, prevalence, and treatment approaches.
  5. Mental health awareness month is celebrated to raise awareness about mental health issues and promote understanding.
  6. The ways to promote mental health awareness involve organizing events and activities as well as sharing stories and experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are some warning signs of a mental health problem?

Warning signs of a mental health problem can include changes in mood or behavior, difficulty concentrating, withdrawal from friends and family, changes in sleeping or eating habits, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

2. Where can I go for help if I struggle with a mental health problem?

There are many resources available for people struggling with mental health problems, including mental health professionals (such as therapists and psychiatrists), support groups, crisis hotlines, and online resources such as self-help websites and forums.

3. How can I help someone who is struggling with a mental health problem?

Anyone can help an individual who is struggling with a mental health problem by offering emotional support, listening without judgment, helping them access professional help, and encouraging them to take care of themselves through healthy habits such as exercise and self-care.

4. What color is Mental Health Awareness Month?

The color associated with Mental Health Awareness Month is green. The color green is often used to symbolize hope, renewal, and good mental health.

5. Who introduced mental health day?

The idea of World Mental Health Day was first proposed by Richard Hunter, the Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), in 1992.

6. Who invented mental health awareness?

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the United States since 1949 and was initiated by the Mental Health America (MHA) organization, which was then known as the National Association for Mental Health. The purpose of this month-long observance is to raise awareness about mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.

References:

  • 1
    The Lancet Global Health (2020). Mental health matters. The Lancet. Global health, 8(11), e1352. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30432-0
  • 2
    Henderson, C., Evans-Lacko, S., & Thornicroft, G. (2013). Mental illness stigma, help seeking, and public health programs. American journal of public health, 103(5), 777–780. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2012.301056
  • 3
    Hao, Z., Liu, M., & Ge, X. (2019). Evaluating the impact of health awareness events on Google search frequency. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100887. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.100887
  • 4
    Rössler W. (2016). The stigma of mental disorders: A millennia-long history of social exclusion and prejudices. EMBO reports, 17(9), 1250–1253. https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.201643041
  • 5
    Singh, V., Kumar, A., & Gupta, S. (2022). Mental Health Prevention and Promotion-A Narrative Review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 13, 898009. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.898009
  • 6
    Cloninger C. R. (2006). The science of well-being: an integrated approach to mental health and its disorders. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 5(2), 71–76.
  • 7
    Knapp, M., & Wong, G. (2020). Economics and mental health: the current scenario. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 19(1), 3–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20692
  • 8
    García-Carrión, R., Villarejo-Carballido, B., & Villardón-Gallego, L. (2019). Children and Adolescents Mental Health: A Systematic Review of Interaction-Based Interventions in Schools and Communities. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 918. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00918
  • 9
    Hellström, L., & Beckman, L. (2021). Life Challenges and Barriers to Help Seeking: Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Voices of Mental Health. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(24), 13101. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413101
  • 10
    Jurewicz I. (2015). Mental health in young adults and adolescents – supporting general physicians to provide holistic care. Clinical medicine (London, England), 15(2), 151–154. https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.15-2-151
  • 11
    de Mendonça Lima, C. A., & Ivbijaro, G. (2013). Mental health and wellbeing of older people: opportunities and challenges. Mental health in family medicine, 10(3), 125–127.
  • 12
    Schneider, J. K., & Cook, J. H., Jr (2005). Planning psychoeducational groups for older adults. Journal of gerontological nursing, 31(8), 33–38. https://doi.org/10.3928/0098-9134-20050801-12
  • 13
    Otten, D., Tibubos, A. N., Schomerus, G., Brähler, E., Binder, H., Kruse, J., Ladwig, K. H., Wild, P. S., Grabe, H. J., & Beutel, M. E. (2021). Similarities and Differences of Mental Health in Women and Men: A Systematic Review of Findings in Three Large German Cohorts. Frontiers in public health, 9, 553071. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.553071
  • 14
    Khan, N., Kausar, R., Khalid, A., & Farooq, A. (2015). Gender differences among discrimination & stigma experienced by depressive patients in Pakistan. Pakistan journal of medical sciences, 31(6), 1432–1436. https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.316.8454
  • 15
    Yu S. (2018). Uncovering the hidden impacts of inequality on mental health: a global study. Translational psychiatry, 8(1), 98. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-018-0148-0
  • 16
    World mental health day. (2010). Mental health in family medicine, 7(2), 123. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2939461/
  • 17
    Ervine H. S. (2021). May is Mental Health Awareness Month. AORN journal, 113(5), 447–449. https://doi.org/10.1002/aorn.13390
  • 18
    Latha, K., Meena, K. S., Pravitha, M. R., Dasgupta, M., & Chaturvedi, S. K. (2020). Effective use of social media platforms for promotion of mental health awareness. Journal of education and health promotion, 9, 124. https://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_90_20
  • 19
    Siddique, M. A. B., Ovi, M. R., Ahammed, T., Chowdhury, M. A. B., & Uddin, M. J. (2022). Mental health knowledge and awareness among university students in Bangladesh. Heliyon, 8(10), e11084. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11084
  • 20
    Woodyard C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International journal of yoga, 4(2), 49–54. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.85485
  • 21
    Whitton, A. E., Hardy, R., Cope, K., Gieng, C., Gow, L., MacKinnon, A., Gale, N., O’Moore, K., Anderson, J., Proudfoot, J., Cockayne, N., O’Dea, B., Christensen, H., & Newby, J. M. (2021). Mental Health Screening in General Practices as a Means for Enhancing Uptake of Digital Mental Health Interventions: Observational Cohort Study. Journal of medical Internet research, 23(9), e28369. https://doi.org/10.2196/28369
  • 22
    Hallett, C., Klug, G., Lauber, C., & Priebe, S. (2012). Volunteering in the care of people with severe mental illness: a systematic review. BMC psychiatry, 12, 226. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-12-226
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