According to Dr Richard Nahas, people tend to avoid the topic of mental health, even when awareness and discussion on the subject can help them and their family members. Stats say that around 1 in 5 people would suffer from mental health issues every year in Canada. Let’s figure out the importance of mental health awareness.
- Mental health disorders require more attention since they lead to other disorders – Mental health awareness aims to push more people to treat their conditions more seriously and get medical help. Some of the mental health disorders that require extra attention include depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorder, schizophrenia, suicidal ideation, and generalized anxiety disorder.
All the above-mentioned disorders have different symptoms. However, they impact everyday life in more ways than you may imagine. It influences your emotions, what you eat, the way you think, and even your physical health. Moreover, if you don’t treat one of these disorders seriously and leave it untreated, you’re at risk of developing more co-occurring disorders.
- It helps to understand your symptoms – All mental health disorders share a few symptoms and have other unique symptoms that may help in diagnosis. However, they aren’t as apparent as other disorders and require a watchful eye. That’s why you need to educate yourself about those symptoms and get them treated.
Some of the common symptoms of most mental health disorders include loss of appetite, suicidal thoughts, changes in sleeping patterns, impulsive decision-making, and turning to alcohol, drugs, or substance abuse during distress. Identify those symptoms and get yourself treated. Mental health disorders can be very dangerous when left untreated since they can push you towards self-harm and drastically affect all aspects of your life.
- It encourages more behavioural health resources – Mental health awareness also creates a snowball effect. When more people get aware of mental health disorders and demand mental health treatment, more mental health resources are available to everyone. More awareness pushes the government and the market to invest more in mental health hospitals, behavioural health programs, and mental health research. It helps fund 12-step programs and makes in-patient mental health treatment more widely available for everyone.
- It breaks the mental health stigma – Mental health disorders are challenges that need to be addressed and shouldn’t be hidden. Most people don’t like to admit that they have a mental health disorder and that makes them even less likely to seek medical help and treatment.
There’s a stigma attached to mental health issues and when more people get aware of the issues, that stigma gets broken. Having a mental health disorder doesn’t mean you’re “crazy”. It affects millions of people and should be treated like any other disorder.
Dr Richard Nahas suggests that you make yourself and the people around you more aware of the importance of mental health. Awareness helps you identify your own mental health issues and identify people with symptoms so that everyone can help each other and take better care of themselves.