In our society, many people (myself included) struggle with mental health issues on a daily basis. Even so, there is still a stigma attached to having a mental health condition. By raising awareness for mental health, we can advocate for fair treatment for those struggling with mental health.
According to the World Health Organization,
World Mental Health Day 2023 is an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme ‘Mental health is a universal human right” to improve knowledge, raise awareness and drive actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health as a universal human right.
Although the WHO considers mental healthcare to be a universal human right, oftentimes it can be difficult to access mental healthcare. Those of us with mental health conditions often have to self-advocate to a high degree within the medical field to be heard. Even when we do receive a diagnosis, finding a provider may be difficult, or have long wait times.
Since it can be difficult to advocate for yourself constantly with a mental health condition, it is important to find support. Raising awareness in the community is key for the mental health community, so that those who struggle with a mental illness know that they are not alone.
Advocacy for mental health is important, to ensure that everyone can live a full and productive life, even if they have a mental health condition. When others advocate for those with mental illness, it helps to relieve us of the burden of constantly having to advocate for ourselves, in addition to managing our illness.
You can also make a difference by talking to the people in your life who may be struggling about their mental health. By initiating a conversation, showing that you are willing to listen and offer assistance, it can take a huge burden off of their shoulders.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, here are some tips for talking to someone in your life about mental health:
1. Find a good space to talk without distractions
If you’re worried about someone, try to find a place where you know you can have a conversation without being distracted. Make sure to give them your full attention. It might help to switch off your phone.
2. Listen and ask questions
Listening can be one of the most valuable ways to be there for someone. Show them that you’re actively listening by facing them, making eye contact, and not interrupting. Questions can help you clarify what they mean and also show that you’re actively listening. But make sure the questions are relevant to what they’re saying, and not changing the subject.
3. Ask how you can help
Ask how you can help or make suggestions, rather than telling them what to do next. They might want support with making a GP appointment, help around the house, or just for you to keep things normal and chat about what’s going on in your life.
You can also help to reduce stigma around mental health conditions by talking to people in your life or on social media about mental health to normalize these conversations. If you can help to refute stigma about mental illness, it can help those who suffer a great deal.
Another way to promote engagement about mental health is by participating in a social media campaign for World Mental Health Day. There are many sharable graphics available for your use, and these can let people in your life know that you are someone safe to talk to about mental health.
If you have mental health issues yourself, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to find a supportive therapist. Here are some tips on finding a therapist that have been helpful on my journey.
Thank you for supporting the mental health community on this year's World Mental Health Day! Your support means the world!