The Importance of Mental Health Awareness

Mental health awareness is crucial as it reduces stigma, promotes early intervention, and supports individuals seeking help. By fostering understanding and acceptance, awareness encourages a supportive community, improves access to mental health services, and enhances overall well-being. Recognizing mental health’s importance leads to better outcomes for individuals and society.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in five young people and adults experience a mental health condition.

Many people struggle with mental health issues in silence due to stigma and lack of understanding. Raising mental health awareness helps reduce this stigma, encouraging individuals to seek the help they need. Promoting awareness creates a more supportive community, leading to early intervention and better overall well-being for everyone.

This article explores the importance of mental health awareness.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Since 1949, every May, the United States has observed Mental Health Awareness Month, a program started by Mental Health America. Government agencies, nonprofits, and privately owned companies nationwide participate in activities to ensure all communities know about the mental health services available. Activities range from social media posts to webinars, livestreams, free assessments, informational handouts, and many other promotions.

Mental Health Awareness Month encourages discussion of mental well-being and reduces the stigma of seeking treatment. Topics such as prevention, early detection, healthcare costs, relationships, and improving quality of life give people hope that they can feel better and overcome their symptoms.

The Importance of Mental Health Awareness

When someone with a mental health condition does not receive treatment, their symptoms can worsen and lead to crisis events.

Awareness helps people understand why they have symptoms, how they impact their lives, and the steps to take to reduce or eliminate them. Awareness activities are perfect opportunities for treatment providers to connect with the community personally, reducing the stigma and increasing the number of people seeking help. In light of Mental Health Awareness Month, this article explores the importance of mental health awareness.

Reduced Stigma

Stigma refers to how others perceive a person negatively if they have a mental illness. Stigmas can lead to discrimination and being mistreated due to having mental health symptoms. Stigma prevents many people from seeking help.

Stigma occurs due to people not understanding the facts surrounding mental health. It causes people with mental health conditions to have a more challenging time finding employment, building relationships, and engaging in socialization. Many people fear these outcomes and avoid seeking treatment.

Starting conversations, using the correct language, reading and learning facts, and sharing personal stories of success are the ways to reduce stigma regarding mental illness.

Early Detection and Prevention

A person’s mental health can change at any stage of life due to varying life events, affecting a person’s thought patterns that lead to certain behaviors. Early detection or intervention is when someone recognizes the signs of a mental health issue early and can seek treatment before the condition worsens. The sooner a person receives proper care, the less likely it is that their mental health symptoms will interfere with work, school, home, or social activities.

Prevention is a way to minimize the chances of someone developing a mental health disorder by learning the causes, risk factors, protective factors, and early symptoms. Prevention methods also introduce people of all ages to the steps to promote overall positive health.

Reduced Healthcare Costs

Mental illness can be a financial burden to individuals, families, employers, schools, prisons, and society. According to a report by The White House, disability programs can be very costly to the public, with 1.4 million disability recipients suffering from depression, bipolar, anxiety, or psychotic disorders. During the pandemic, the government spent $280 billion on mental health, mainly through Medicaid.

After receiving treatment for mental illness, people become more productive in their personal and professional lives. They contribute more to society and help reduce healthcare costs. One study found that every $1 invested in awareness for early intervention and addiction programs saves between $2 and $10 in healthcare costs.

Coping Skills

Healthy coping skills are specific actions a person takes when they are experiencing negative mental health symptoms. They help someone take control over the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that are causing problems. As a result, people can regulate emotions, supporting their overall well-being.

If people aren’t aware of healthy coping skills, they may use unhealthy actions to deal with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions. For example, some choose drugs and alcohol as a coping method, which ultimately leads to a co-occurring disorder.

Four categories of effective coping skills include the following:

  • Problem-focused, which addresses the stressor directly.
  • Emotion-focused, which focuses on changing the emotions associated with the stressor.
  • Meaning-focused or using cognitive techniques to form appropriate meaning of the stressor.
  • Social coping involves seeking emotional support from friends, family, or other supportive people to reduce stress.

Increased Productivity

Numerous studies show evidence that poor mental health leads to lost productivity due to absenteeism, presenteeism, and activity impairment. People with undiagnosed mental illness, specifically depression and anxiety, had higher productivity loss. Mental health awareness can help employees get a proper diagnosis and treatment to help them become more productive at work.

Employers can take steps to improve employees’ mental health in the workplace. This starts by making company leaders and managers aware of mental health conditions, symptoms, and treatment options. Employers should also make it acceptable to seek mental health treatment by offering flexible working schedules. They should prioritize good health and well-being and ensure health insurance plans cover mental health treatment.

Better Relationships

Mental illness can affect relationships of all kinds. It can impede intimacy in romantic relationships and cause arguments among family members. The more people know about each other, the easier it is to maintain healthy relationships. Talking about mental health, seeking education about mental health, and supporting each other through life’s ups and downs are crucial to relationships.

The number one piece of advice for partners of someone living with mental illness is to learn everything they can about the disorder. The more they know, the better they can show support, communicate effectively, and help their loved one seek treatment.

Improved Quality of Life

Quality of life in mental health refers to multiple factors contributing to a person’s mental well-being, such as the following:

  • Being healthy physically
  • Having positive relationships
  • Participating in various activities
  • Having self-esteem or confidence
  • Being able to live independently
  • Having the hope of reaching goals and dreams

Mental health awareness leads people to seek treatment for mental health conditions. They learn how to control their symptoms, which allows them to experience better physical health, relationships, self-perception, and more. Working with a licensed mental health professional, people acquire and strengthen coping skills, making them more resilient.

Mental Health Treatment in Los Angeles

Are you seeking effective mental health treatment in Los Angeles? The Mental Health Center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center offers comprehensive and compassionate care to help you achieve mental wellness.

We can help connect you with psychiatrists and psychotherapists in Los Angeles who can create a personalized treatment plan to address your unique needs.

Contact us to schedule an evaluation and discover the support and expertise available at the Mental Health Center.

Conclusion

Mental health awareness has many benefits, including stigma reduction, higher productivity, lower societal costs, better relationships, and higher quality of life. It is crucial to spread the word about mental health and how someone can seek treatment. During May, choose to get involved and make a difference. Help tell others about the importance of mental health awareness.