Today is World Mental Health Day. So, there is no better time to discuss mental health. Also remembering our mental health is just as vital as our physical health.
Lockdown really ramped up the severity of bad mental health and the awful consequences that can occur. This is why I want to share this post on World Mental Health Day and continue the healthy conversation. I want to se my platform to bring awareness and get people talking about the different conditions and the stigmas.
Bad mental health can touch everyone. Whether that is by personal experience or you know a loved one has experienced ill mental health. This is unquestionably vital for everyone to learn how they can help to reduce the stigma. You can learn about the different mental health conditions and how you can help loved ones who experience mental health.
Here are 7 things that you can do to help end the stigma surrounding mental health:
1. Educate yourself and others
Knowledge is power and can really help to end the stigma surrounding mental health. Therefore, you should educate yourself from good sources about mental illnesses, the symptoms and the treatments that are available. Furthermore, you should educate others that mental illness is a physical disorder. It is no different than a broken leg.
Additionally, as a parent or a carer it is really important that you educate your children about mental health. Without a doubt they need to know what mental health is and why it is important to look after.
I recently have gained a qualification in understanding children and young people’s mental health. Subsequently, this really opened my eyes to a lot of the mental health conditions, symptoms and what treatments are available. Not only that but the statistics surrounding children and young people’s mental health in the UK are seriously shocking. Another reason why more education and support regarding mental health is needed in schools, at home and the workplace.
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2. Share your own experience regarding mental health
No one should ever be put in a situation where they feel pressured or embarrassed about sharing their personal experience. However, if you do, it can be hugely beneficial for both yourself and others. Sharing your story can incredibly powerful. In addition can provide comfort and allow people to feel less alone when they can relate to another person’s experience.
Again, if you do share it can actually inspire other people to share their experiences, which can be hugely empowering! When you share your story on social media it helps to spread a positive message. Such as you are not alone and you can work through this! Social media has been know to feed into ill mental health. So, we should all flood social media with truth, honesty and relatable experiences that will help and benefit others.
I have had people who have read my blog and thanked me because posts have really helped them to feel less alone. For me, that is so positive and more people practising this could comfort others and surely save some people’s lives.
3. Be aware of the language that you use
You should be aware of the language that you use for example ‘I have bipolar’ rather than ‘I’m bipolar’. This is the same when you are describing others ‘he’s bipolar’ ‘she’s depressed’. People are people, they are not their diagnoses. You are not your mental health condition, it is just something that you live with. Nobody is an illness. We all have multiple facets of ourselves, mental illness is only a small part of a person and we are not defined by only one aspect of ourselves.
It is important to be kind to yourself or others when discussing mental health. To fight against the stigma reminding people of the language matters. It is so easy to refrain from using mental health conditions as adjectives.
4. Be a safe space for others
You don’t need to be a qualified professional to help others. You can give someone the gift of feeling seen and heard. It is important to try and talk less and listen more. This allows the person to share as much as they feel comfortable doing. You have the ability to create a safe space for others who might be suffering from a mental health challenge.
5. Do not contribute to mental health stigmas
Breaking down mental health stigmas and stereotypes starts with yourself. You need to avoid contributing to the stigma by staying mindful of how you discuss mental health. It is possible that a person’s recovery or progress can be negatively impacted by you feeding into the stigmas or the stereotypes. Instead be a source of encouragement and support.
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6. Encourage equality between physical and mental illness
Unfortunately, many people who physically can not see or feel the cause of a mental health illness, do not regard it as a real problem.
There are so many mental illnesses that can be just as serious and life-threatening (sometimes even more so) than physical diseases. However, society does not view it in the same light. It is important that whenever you can, you should do your best to remind yourself and others that mental health disorders are real and should be acknowledged as so.
7. Show compassion
Whether you have first-hand experience with mental illness or not, you should always be willing to show empathy and compassion to those who do. Meet them with kindness. Greeting someone with a calm, friendly and non-judgemental voice can actually help a person who is struggling with depression or anxiety for example.
If you are reading this and you are struggling with your mental health it is important to reach out. Reaching out to a loved one, your doctor or a trusted adult can help you to get the support and treatment you need.
It is so disappointing that we are still having to fight against the stigma and the negative stereotypes regarding mental health. But that’s why I want to write about how we can all do our part to eradicate these negative connotations. Let’s all ensure mental health is discussed regularly.
What do you do to help fight the stigma? Have you ever had a negative experience because of the stigma or a stereotype? I’d love to hear in the comments.