Although individuals who suffer from mental illness may feel like they are all alone and alienated from society, the truth is that mental illness is more common than one might think. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 21% of US adults experienced some level of mental illness in 2020.
NAMI also suggests that 1 in 6 between the ages of 6 and 17 experience some level of mental illness every year. It’s important to note here that this percentage only measures the number of cases of mental illness of which we are aware. Many suffer from mental illness in silence.
Mental health is a critical topic in the world. The more we promote and openly talk about mental health, the more comfortable people will feel to speak up and seek the help they deserve.
Luckily, the promotion of mental health has grown rapidly in recent years, thanks to several contributing factors. What follows will be a discussion surrounding the importance of mental health promotion, the power of communication, and the effectiveness of mental health treatment.
The Importance of Mental Health for Public Health
Over 20% of US adults suffer from some level of mental illness year-over-year. Worldwide, the number is close to 450 million individuals.
The impact of mental health disorders is significant. Mental illness continues to impact and overwhelm the healthcare system, resulting in problems such as decreased immunity, a higher risk of health conditions and physical illness, and ultimately higher overall death rates. Thus, the impact on public health as a whole is substantial.
The best way to reduce this burden and combat this unspoken pandemic from worsening is through the enthusiastic promotion of mental health and a strong effort to prevent mental illness.
How to Manage Mental Health and Prevent Complications
The prevention and management of mental health has been a well-known practice for over 100 years. In its early days, however, strategies were only preliminary and experimental, and it was inconclusive as to whether they were effective.
Not until the late 1980s did an evidence-based, science-backed approach take precedent over earlier protocols. Today, mental health is treated with a multifaceted approach towards treatment, management, and prevention.
And this is where mental health promotion comes into play. By definition, mental health promotion implies “the creation of individual, social, and environmental conditions that enable optimal psychological and psychophysiological development. Prevention of mental disorders can be considered one of the aims of a broader mental health promotion strategy.”
By promoting positivity towards mental health and actively preventing mental illness by encouraging early intervention and healthy lifestyles, reduced incidence rates, prevalence rates, and recurrence rates of mental health conditions can be achieved.
Below are several effective preventative measures used to manage mental health and prevent complications:
- Achieve sufficient sleep
- Eat nutritious foods and hydrate
- Regularly exercise
- Avoid harmful and addictive substances
- Build a reliable support system
- Seek frequent therapy and medical care when needed
- Take medication regularly and as prescribed
- Proactively pay attention to warning signs
- Speak openly about mental health and its importance
- Make an effort to reduce stress
Through the active promotion of mental health, the support from family and friends, and the help of health care clinicians, psychiatrists and psychologists, physicians, and mental health clinicians, individuals can receive the treatment they need and deserve.
Ending the Stigma
With the discussion surrounding mental health rapidly growing thanks to media campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk and mass social media discussions surrounding #EndTheStigma, more and more individuals feel comfortable speaking up and speaking out and can receive the care they need.
It has also clarified the normality of mental health conditions, with celebrities and familiar faces beginning to speak up about their own situations and circumstances, promoting mental health on their own platforms.
Celebrities who have joined the conversation are making a major impact on the promotion of mental health. Some noted names include Meghan Markle, who has broken the silence about her own struggles; Kristen Bell, who has put pen to paper in an essay regarding her mental disorder battles in Time Magazine; Simone Biles, who is using her own platform to end the stigma; and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who is outspoken about his bouts of depression and his mother’s suicide attempt.
While mental health has been receiving more attention in recent years, it remains an issue that needs much support. Moreover, those in need of help must receive care that can be life-saving.
If you or someone you know are experiencing an untreated mental health condition, don’t remain silent. Don’t be afraid to speak up and seek help. Talk to family and friends and seek the counsel of a therapist or mental health professional as soon as possible.
If you’re uncertain where to begin or if you fear that you are lacking support, don’t hesitate to contact your primary care provider. The important point is that we all encourage everyone to seek help and receive life-saving care.