As the pandemic spreads, mental health awareness has never been more crucial. It plays a key part in overall wellness and can serve as an invaluable means of self-care.
Mental health awareness is the cornerstone of creating a welcoming and accepting community that promotes help-seeking behavior, healthy coping mechanisms and resilience – ultimately leading to improved overall mental wellbeing.
While most understand the symptoms and treatments for common illnesses like flu or migraine, mental health disorders remain unfamiliar to most. Therefore, those living with mental disorders often go without receiving help until it’s too late.
Stigma can be one of the biggest barriers to seeking help for mental illness, leading many people to avoid discussing their problems, isolate themselves, and feel helpless. Unfortunately, stigmatization may hinder finding employment or social support – however this can be reduced through education and awareness campaigns.
Raising awareness about mental health is vital in combatting stigma and encouraging self-care. Even small steps to raise awareness, like holding the door open for strangers or offering compliments can have an enormously positive effect. When more people understand the importance of self-care and mental wellness treatment they will likely seek it more quickly resulting in improved outcomes for those suffering with mental illnesses as well as overall improvement to overall wellbeing.
Early Intervention and Prevention
Awareness and self-care of our mental health can assist in recognizing early warning signs of mental illness and seeking professional treatment, and also preventing future episodes from occurring altogether.
Preventive measures in mental health seek to decrease the risk of mental disorders by targeting risk factors (perinatal influences, genetics, environment and socio-economic status) associated with them – this method is known as primary prevention.
There is extensive research that documents the effectiveness of different preventive interventions targeting mental health issues (18, 38-42). Many are also cost-effective.
However, an effective mental health promotion program requires the participation of all sectors of society – public, private and non-governmental organizations as well as mental health professionals – in its creation. A holistic approach is necessary in order to reduce stigmatism and foster an environment of care in communities while giving individuals greater control over their mental health and enabling them to manage frustration and stress more easily.
Wellbeing is an often-overlooked component of mental health and it should be prioritized. By raising awareness of mental illness and advocating for treatment, we can encourage people to seek assistance for mental illnesses as soon as possible and show that seeking help doesn’t make them crazy; seeking treatment shows strength.
An active, balanced lifestyle is vital to mental wellness. Regular exercising, eating a nutritious diet and spending quality time with loved ones are among the many ways that can contribute to overall well-being. Maintaining positive relationships within yourself by practicing self-care activities such as reading or journaling or simply spending time alone are all great ways to foster emotional well-being.
Mental health awareness is a crucial aspect of professional self-care for mental health professionals. It can help avoid burnout and increase job and compassion satisfaction as well as reduce negative work outcomes such as stress and negative emotions. A great way to foster this type of awareness would be sharing personal experience about mental illness with fellow professionals in your field.
Productivity and Performance
Although stress is normal and healthy, to ensure optimal mental health it must be managed effectively. One approach is prioritizing self-care measures such as getting enough sleep and eating well, along with cutting back or eliminating unhealthy habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.
Mental health awareness involves shining a light on those parts of your internal world that could otherwise remain hidden or ignored, including thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. Knowing how to identify and discuss them allows you to prioritize your needs accordingly.
Training programs like Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) provide individuals with the knowledge, skills, confidence and resources they need to effectively respond to people experiencing mental health challenges or disorders. These trainings target communities, schools/higher education institutions, first responders, law enforcement officers and various human service organizations that come into contact with these people experiencing difficulties related to mental or substance use disorders; furthermore they may also target specific populations such as youth or older adults.
Resilience is the ability to adapt in challenging circumstances by adapting thoughts patterns and developing skills necessary for coping effectively with difficult events. Building this skill takes time and requires support systems as well as external resources for its development.
Resilience building requires practice and commitment from all. Some internal resilience factors include communication, positive thinking and emotional regulation; external factors include prioritizing relationships, developing a sense of purpose and finding meaning in difficult experiences.
As part of their efforts to promote mental health awareness and build resilience, organizations should create an environment that fosters positive lifestyle behaviors and self-care practices among employees, such as encouraging adequate sleep, eating well and regular physical activity. They should encourage employees to get enough restorative rest, eating healthily and exercise on a regular basis. Companies should offer mental health wellness programs, encouraging employees to seek assistance whenever needed. This will help their bodies adapt better to stress and avoid mental health conditions that could impede performance at work. Maintaining resilience will not only strengthen overall productivity but also boost resilience levels. Finally, they must provide easy access to jargon-free mental health content provided by professional bodies, research organizations and medical colleges.
Promoting Help-Seeking Behavior
Mental health refers to more than the absence of mental illness; it encompasses one’s overall emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. People experiencing poor mental health should seek help and support when necessary – this may mean confiding in friends or family members, getting counseling services, joining support groups or taking medications as appropriate.
However, many individuals can be reluctant to seek help because they fear stigmatization of seeking assistance and inaccurate information about mental illness and treatment options. One effective solution would be destigmatizing access to help and providing accurate details regarding mental illnesses and treatments available.
Studies conducted using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) have demonstrated that attitudes and perceived behavioral control are strong predictors of help-seeking intentions. Furthermore, vignette studies have indicated that attitudes have more of an effect than personal beliefs in driving help-seeking intentions; more research needs to be conducted in this area in order to better understand their interaction and the likelihood that someone seeks assistance.
Holistic Health Approach
An holistic approach to wellness can be an effective way of improving mental health. The practice encompasses your diet, exercise routine, spiritual beliefs and self-care activities such as meditation or journaling to manage stress and reduce anxiety – in stark contrast with conventional medicine which often focuses on diagnosing symptoms rather than holistic healing solutions.
Holistic philosophy is founded on the understanding that body and mind are inextricably linked. Therefore, what affects one area of your body will have an effect on all parts – for instance low self-esteem can lead to stress and anxiety that in turn cause depression; by practicing mindfulness and self-care regularly you can reduce these levels while raising your levels of confidence and increasing your sense of wellbeing.
Self-care begins by setting aside time each day to relax and restore yourself, such as yoga, meditation or taking a tranquil walk in nature. You could also try practicing random acts of kindness such as holding the door for someone or offering them compliments – these small acts go a long way!
Mental wellness extends far beyond simply not suffering from mental illnesses; it encompasses being emotionally and psychologically healthy through self-care practices. Self-care involves being mindful and aware of inner worlds that may become hidden or disregarded over time, such as thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and urges. Self-care helps decrease stigma associated with mental health while encouraging holistic approaches to health. Self-awareness among practitioners has been shown to reduce emotional exhaustion, burnout, compassion fatigue and increase job gratification (Rupert and Kent 2007), leading to lower emotional exhaustion levels as well as better job gratification (Barnett et al. 2015). Therefore it is vital that mental health awareness and self-care become priorities if productivity, prevention of relapse and continued mental fitness is desired.