To some, the launching of my blog may have come as a surprise. The truth is though that I had been considering it for months already. May seemed to be the perfect time for me since it’s the National Mental Health Month in the United States. I’m European myself, but I love the idea of bringing awareness to an issue so close to home so of course I’m joining in!
For as long as human-kind has known of mental illnesses, we’ve also been juggling the stubborn stigmas that come with it. Those who suffer rarely open up to talk about their struggles due to fear of being judged or looked down upon. Our society has made mental illnesses seem like something to be ashamed of, like those who suffer are damaged goods, which is why so many people still hide it away today. We may have come quite a bit on the way already, I won’t deny anyone that. But our culture today still has a long way to go in order to reach where we should be in the year 2018.
According to the Journal of Abnormal Psychology will up to 80% of the population be affected by mental illness at some point in their life whether directly or through family and other loved ones. 50 million people are affected by depression and over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. With those statistics it’s clear that having conversations about mental health is of importance to all of us.
To properly embrace the National Mental Health awareness month I’ll share with you ways you can help to support those who live with mental illness.
1. Educate yourself
One of the best things you can do to support those who suffer from mental health problems is to educate yourself on different types of illnesses, find out what the warning signs are and learn about the common misconceptions. Much of the stigma that surrounds mental illness comes from misinformation or lack of information. Therefore, is education a vital step to fight the stigma.
For good, basic information you can check these websites out:
2. Share your knowledge
If you yourself live with mental illness and find yourself at a place where you’re able to talk about it, then talk about it! The best way to fight stigma is to shine light upon what is unknown and provide examples to prove the contrary to what so many people believe. Living with mental health issues doesn’t make us dangerous or constantly miserable. Spread the word.
3. Donate to a Mental Health Charity
Donations can be made anonymously if you wish, nobody would have to know it’s you. Even smaller amounts count and make a big deal to enable charities to help those in need. Any donation of any type and value is precious so if you can, please consider.
4. Challenge the stigma
It is possible that you may come across comments about mental health problems that are discriminating, or are putting people with mental illnesses down. If so, you can stand up against it. By challenging stigma that surrounds mental health you may possibly change someone’s view on the subject. Just one person with a change of heart makes a difference.
Together we can stop the stigma. Thank you for reading!