By Danielle Bishop (Board Member and Counselor)
May marks Mental Health Awareness month, when communities, organizations, and other affiliates partner in raising attentiveness to mental health. Usually, when the word health is used, most think of only the physical aspects this word encompasses. Mental health is just as imperative to maintain as our physical health because it affects all facets of our daily routine. This stresses the importance of seeing the whole person so that we are addressing minds and bodies rather than trying to pinpoint only one health to focus upon. According to a Harris Poll (2023), three-quarters of adults believe that mental health is just as important as physical health. However, the issue lies where many people do not know how or do not converse on the topic of mental health. That contributes to stigmas forming. According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, one out of every five people are affected by mental health issues and, when combined with stigma, it influences these individuals from seeking help. This is elaborated upon in the Harris Poll that only one in ten people regularly sees a mental health professional. Therefore, deterrence of treatment usually occurs when the environment may contain shame, fear, and silence. This perception of mental illness can change, where you can help by:
Although some might seem small, little changes over time can create significant gains for your and others’ overall health and wellbeing. Stigma can be reversed by compassion, empathy, and understanding. Remember, sometimes the uncomfortable or unknown topics are what need to be discussed in order to address them and spark the change. Let’s start learning and talking.