Mental illness is something that affects just about everyone in one way or another. Statistics show that in any given year as many as 20% of Americans will suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Over time almost half of our population is falling prey to some form of these illnesses, which can often be debilitating for the patient. The immediate family and friends of those affected patients are also adversely impacted as well. The severity of this widespread problem calls us to action. As a result, we recognize Mental Health Day on October 10th, and Mental Health Awareness Week, October 5th – 11th.
This Mental Health Day, let’s concentrate on taking down the stigma around mental health and mental illness. Longstanding jokes and stereotypes that label people showing signs of mental illness as stupid, irrational, weak, or inferior. These beliefs are a huge part of the problem and the root of the stigma. Feeling ashamed prevents suffering individuals from asking for the professional help they need. Many mentally impaired patients don’t even know they have a problem. Education and awareness is our most powerful weapon against this stigma. So, let’s dive into mental wellness to learn why Mental Health Day is so important.
Mental Health 101
The WHO defines health as not just the lack of disease but a state of all-round wellness. For a person to be healthy, they must be physically, emotionally, and mentally well.
Mental health doesn’t necessarily refer to someone with a clinically diagnosed disorder with a label on it – each and every one of us needs to look after our own psycho-spiritual state of wellness. We may be in the Digital Age, but we are not robots with microprocessors for hearts. Humans are multi-faceted beings with a complex and unimaginable range of motivations, thoughts, and needs. Unfortunately, many of us are scared of addressing our emotional or psychological needs. Perhaps sometimes they are hard to recognize or figure out.
This may be because many of our parents raised us to believe that emotional distress is a sign of weakness. The inability to take care of our emotional wellbeing can lead to a downward spiral in mental condition. As problems become worse, one becomes unable to cope, which leads to more issues until finally we are forced to take action. This often involves hours with expensive mental health professionals and the trial and error pursuit of a suitable solution through medication.
Joyce Sunada summed up why it’s important to maintain good mental health: “If you don’t take time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.”
Mental Health Day Focuses on Overall Raising Awareness
Mental illnesses are broad. It’s the purpose of Mental Health Day is to raise awareness about these different conditions, as well as mental health in general. In order to increase their impact, Mental Health Day focuses on seven main areas of mental distress:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Substance Abuse Disorders
Making a Difference This Mental Health Day
Mental Health Day is all about normalizing people taking care of their mental health. If we are to make a lasting change, we all need to play our parts to remove the stigma of mental illness. Here are some ways you can help this Mental Health Day:
Learn as much as you can about different mental health conditions.
Throughout mental illness awareness week, particularly on Mental Health Day, NAMI offers exciting learning opportunities.
There are many online tools that you can use to screen yourself for mental illness. You can do a condition-specific screen at mhascreening.org. Please remember that these are just screening tools and the results are not a medical diagnosis. If your results indicate a possible problem, please contact your doctor.
Educate those around you.
Both Nami and the MHA encourage members of the public to share information about Mental Health Day and mental illness awareness week – particularly on social media. The whole point of Mental Health Day is to raise awareness about mental health – so, educating those around you is one of the most powerful things you can do.
Volunteer or donate.
Millions of charitable organizations contribute to the fight against mental illness. Try volunteering or donating some money to one of these noble causes.
Important Changes to Make This Mental Health Day
Mental Health Day is the perfect opportunity to evaluate your lifestyle and see what changes you can make to improve your mental health. Because you don’t have to be clinically diagnosed to need to take care of your mental health better. Although it often falls by the wayside, prioritizing your own mental health is a key ingredient to a long and happy life. Some easy peasy steps in the right direction:
- Your eight hours of sleep are non-negotiable. Definitely easier said than done. Yet, the bottom line doesn’t shift – sleep is essential for physical and mental health. This is the time when your body recuperates from the stresses of your day and begins to heal. If you struggle with sleep, check out this guide on how to stop counting sheep.
- Fill your life with supportive people. We just weren’t designed to live in isolation. Sometimes, we all need a little bit of extra encouragement whether it comes from a loved one or health care professional. Knowing you have someone to rely on when times get tough can make all the difference.
- Make time for things that make you happy. Life is meant to be enjoyed. In today’s cut-throat world, the little things that bring us joy get too easily disregarded as unimportant. Whether it’s riding your bike or reading a book – doing things that put a smile on your face can make all the difference when life is starting to seem gloomy.
- Technology Breaks Before Technology Breaks You. Enough said!
Scoop Health Supports Our Members’ Mental Health
At Scoop Health medical cost sharing community, we are committed to the general health of our members. That means looking after our members’ mental health as much as their physical health. Here are just some of the ways we help our members maintain a healthy psyche:
- Our members have unlimited access to virtual care and telemedicine, for if ever you have an emergency – mental health or otherwise: there will be someone there to consult with.
- We provide our members with preferred access to wellness platforms such as Talkspace and Headspace for more in-depth consultations.
- Every Sedera member receives three hours of free virtual counseling per year. Sometimes this is all someone needs to see things more clearly and seek out more regular counseling.
- We assign all our members their very own member helper to assist them with all of their health needs. From finding a local doctor, diagnostics, or negotiating their medical bills we support members at every stage of their healthcare needs. This ensures that all members of our community have a stress-free, positive healthcare experience.
At Scoop Health, we believe that true health comes from having control over your medical care. Health education is essential in taking charge. This is why we publish free-access health education articles. Events like Mental Health Day are the cornerstone in promoting public health. By taking part in Mental Health Day, you are one step closer to safeguarding your own mental health.