Mental Health Awareness

It’s time to create a culture that is openly talking about mental health instead of neglecting the conversation. So I’m going to start it.


For years, society has built a stigma against mental illness. The barrier stigma has created simply erases the confidence that mental illnesses are real health conditions. There are two prominent forms of stigma when it comes to mental health. The first, Social Stigma, is created by discriminating behavior towards individuals with mental health problems. Secondly, there is Self-Stigma. Which is assigning a sense of shame to yourself for carrying a mental illness. Leading to possible blockage of treatment.


On the topic of treatment, everyone heals at their own pace and in their own ways. By no means are there perfect procedures to fully heal someone that faces their eating disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, OCD, Schizophrenia and so on. The process for recovery is different for every person. Because every person’s story is different and so is their way of treatment. We need to open up to discovering and funding other ways we can influence a positive recovery rather than forcing the seemingly negative procedures on one another. Whether that be creating less restrictive settings for people to recover or reducing the medications that can be addicting to some. While keeping them accessible to others that these facilities, therapists, or medications may work for.


Unfortunately, it is very common to not realize the severity of a mental illness until yourself or a loved one faces that challenge. That’s when we as societal members, family members, and friends need to step up and become able to recognize many of the symptoms before it gets to a lesser point. Whether it be impaired thinking, mood swings, lack of interaction with others or sleep deprivation. Be that person by their side and help them cope with these symptoms. Most importantly though, do listen, but don’t judge. Let them know you’re there to help in whatever way they need you to be. Some people with mental illnesses potentially will take offense when you first bring noticeable symptoms to their attention. They’re embarrassed, but that is when you have to make it known that you do not blame them or think poorly about them in any which way because they have a mental illness. One of the largest problems I have witnessed is households and families creating a shameful atmosphere for that struggling individual to live in. Most commonly, teens will address their issues to their family members and get told that it is “all in their heads” and to “move on with it.” Leading to them closing up and potentially never finding an outlet or form of recovery resulting in traumatic situations no one should face.


In the words of my sister, “Once you hit rock bottom it’s hard to get out but you find your motivation to keep fighting. Not just for you, but for the ones that care for you.” This is why I am a firm believer in families or friends (if you don’t necessarily have the strongest family ties) giving their full, undivided attention whether they believe it or not, to the individual that faces their mental disorder. Because of my family doing everything within our power to get my little sister the support she needs, it has only led her to face her demons stronger and stronger every day. Absolutely will there be days for anybody that seem harder than the one before, but that’s where we as a support system have to step in and assist throughout that day one step at a time to whoever may need.


One thing I would like for anybody to take out of this article is to just remember everyone is fighting a battle you may not always expect. Show your unconditional support and fight to end the stigma.