While January may be coming to an end, it's never too late to honor mental wellness awareness month and to learn why it's so important. The fact of the matter is, mental illness is extremely prevalent, which is unfortunate. So many people are suffering, and without such mental health ailments (whether it be depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder) having an effect on their overall well-being, these individuals would likely be healthier overall and live more fulfilling productive lives.
Mental illness is a key determinant of low productivity. People who are suffering aren't always able to function in society and daily life. Just as someone who has a physical illness cannot function well, those with poor mental wellness cannot either. Despite the fact that so many people are suffering from mental illnesses, there is a silver lining in this. More and more people are speaking up and spreading awareness about mental health. As a result, the stigma is weakening, which is what we all want to see. In fact, very popular—high-ranking sites such as Scary Mommy do everything in their power to increase the awareness by publishing many articles about depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Despite the awareness that's being spread and the fact that the stigma surrounding mental illness is fading, there are still many people that don’t take mental health seriously. Perhaps they're unaware of the symptoms, or what it feels like to struggle with mental health. Or, maybe they too are suffering, but for whatever reason are too afraid to speak out and seek help. Whatever the case may be, many of them believe that sufferers should just ‘get over it’. That is a very harmful mentality. Can you just ‘get over’ having cancer or diabetes? No, you cannot, and it's typically easier to treat such diseases (with the exception of certain types of cancer).
Diabetics can manage their condition and keep their blood sugar levels in a good, healthy range by utilizing proper diet and treatment methods. Cancer patients can also go into remission as long as their condition is caught early enough, and is properly treated with the best protocol.
The same applies to most mental illness. While it'ss possible to recover from episodes of trauma, depression, anxiety, and psychosis, a person may never just “get over” having these conditions—especially when it comes to disorders like bipolar I and II, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder. The good news is that they can be treated, and these conditions can be kept under control with proper mental wellness management. There are many ways to treat mental health disorders, such as taking a micronutrient supplement, attending therapy, and utilizing new mental health technologies, such as chatbots.
If your mental illness is so severe that it is literally incapacitating, drastic treatment measures are needed, which may include hospitalization and psychotropic meds in extreme cases. Those who suffer from psychosis, or bipolar I, for example, will need a more aggressive approach toward mental health treatment, and micronutrient supplements may not be ideal for a person suffering from bipolar I, as more research into treating this disorder with supplements is needed, and many mental health professionals are of the belief that micronutrient supplements may induce mania for bipolar I.
The takeaway here is that mental illness is a serious condition, and something we all need to be a bit more aware and understanding of. This is why the US has dedicated the months of January and May to spreading awareness about mental health with Mental Wellness Awareness Month and Mental Health Month, respectively. And for those of you reading this from Canada, Bell Canada dedicates one day each year to support mental illness by adding a percentage of their funds toward supporting mental health organizations. It is a great cause, and more companies around the world should be doing the same thing! Bell is hosting their event to help support funding for bringing out more mental health awareness on January 30th of this year.
The more that people become aware of how serious mental illness really is, the weaker the stigma will become. While it's significantly declined over recent years, there are still many who refuse to seek treatment because of the stigma. The goal is to eventually have this stigma completely broken and disintegrated. The fact of the matter is that we all have psychosocial issues that are often times attributed to mental illness. No one is perfect, and we all could be making strides to improve our mental states. No one is immune to mental distress or illness.
Just like people who have physical illnesses need support, so do those with mental illnesses. And even though January is mental health awareness month, it should be a priority of focus each month of the year. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, help is available in a variety of forms. You never have to suffer alone and despite how isolating this can seem, you are never truly alone.