What if I told you there was no longer stigma around mental health? Would you believe me? Whilst we’ve come a long way with how we view mental health, there is still more that can be done.
There is often an unspoken shame or worry around admitting that you or someone you know is not well. Even though it is something many people struggle with, it is often not spoken of because of fear. In turn, this fear keeps things hidden, which can often allow things to get worse, which leads to not asking for help. This vicious cycle can be harmful, and there is no reason for it to exist. We all can do our part to help one another.
A mental disorder is an illness that affects how a person feels, thinks, acts, behaves and treats others. Studies have shown that each year, 1 in 5 Australians suffer from a mental illness, and almost half of the Australian population has suffered from a mental disorder at some point in their lives. Mental disorders include things such as clinical depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, dementia, personality disorders, eating disorders and much more.
Australia commemorates October 10 as World Mental Health Day to challenge perceptions around mental health. It aims to bring awareness to the misconceptions and misrepresentations around mental health so that everyone in society knows that we are all part of creating a mentally healthy society. It leads to a better understanding of mental illnesses so that people who are suffering feel a safe space to reach out for help. It shows how even if we are not suffering from a mental illness, we still have a part to play. For the person suffering, since much of the problem is in their head, they feel as though nobody understands, which if often the case if you’ve never experienced it. For the people around them, they don’t understand why the person can’t just snap out of it. This rift can be harmful for both parties. This is why it is important to be educated and aware.
You may be wondering what you can do. Mental illnesses have a far reaching impact. Not only do they impact the individual but also the people around them. These illnesses can feed into all aspects of life- physical, emotional and spiritual and affect body, mind and spirit. Feelings of hopelessness can characterise these individuals. As a friend, family member or anyone trying to support someone dealing with a mental disorder. I think the biggest thing you can do is be there for them. Despite your understanding of the situation, most people want people who will stand by them and hope for them when they can’t themselves. Being a loyal, safe space is so important because feelings of loneliness and isolation can easily creep in. If you are personally suffering from a mental disorder, I think one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself is reach out for help and support and know that there is no shame in it. You are not alone, and there is hope.
As human beings, we have the opportunity to experience life to the fullest. Anything that robs from a full life is not our inheritance. Also as humans, we have the capability to educate ourselves on this issue that impacts many worldwide. Whether you’re suffering from a mental illness or know someone who is, there is an end. There is victory to be found and life abundant to be lived. When we find wholeness, there is a peace and joy that comes forth, and that is how life is meant to be lived.
To learn more about World Mental Health Day, head to their website HERE. Remember. You have a role to play.