“How are you?”
This is a question so commonly asked and answered in passing, that we don’t really give it much thought. But if we take the time to stop, and truly ask someone this question with empathy and purpose, it can make a world of difference in someone’s life.
This May, we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month. The stigma around mental health has existed for a very long time, and although it has started to change in recent years, it’s still not enough. Nearly 450 million people worldwide are currently living with a mental illness, yet nearly two thirds of people with a known mental illness never seek treatment. It’s time to raise awareness for those living with mental health issues and break the stigma so many are experiencing.
What is Mental Health?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
The state of a person’s mental health significantly impacts their quality of life. Research shows that improved mental health leads to better physical health, including a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes. On the other hand, poor mental health is linked to poor physical health or harmful behaviours including chronic illnesses, sleeping problems, smoking, substance use, and more.
‘Mental Health’ is Finally Losing the Stigma
For centuries, when people refer to mental health it was often associated with severe mental illness. But today, mental health is recognized by common conditions such as anxiety and depression, and is a term used to describe a person’s overall health.
So, what has helped us improve our awareness? Lots!
Over the past decade, there has been significant growth in understanding the importance of mental health and embracing its conversations. Awareness days, such as World Mental Health Day; movements, including the #MeToo movement; popular television shows (This Is Us), social media (individuals and groups sharing #MentalHealth stories), and even celebrities, like Selena Gomez have helped reduce the stigma and encourage people to get help.
Take Our Quiz!
We’ve all been through a lot during these pandemic years – remote learning, working from home, quarantines, limited social interactions. But the one issue that continues to make headlines is the effects it has on our mental health.
There are still many misunderstandings when it comes to mental health, which makes people ignore their own, makes it difficult to seek help, and fuels stigma. Take Netsweeper’s mental health quiz to see if you can identify facts from myths.
Mental Health Resources
- National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357