For decades, mental illness was not something that was openly discussed by many people. In recent years it has become less taboo and more commonplace to talk about these issues, but there are still many stigmas that exist. Everyone can do their part to help break down these stigmas and promote greater awareness, acceptance, and understanding of mental health disorders. October 5-8 has been designated Mental Illness Awareness Week, but you can stay active raising awareness throughout the year. Here are a few ways that you can help:
Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can about common mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders. If someone you love is battling a certain disorder, do your research and ask questions so you have a better understanding of what they are dealing with. This can also help you to educate others and clear up misunderstandings.
Avoid offensive language: Be conscious of the way you talk about mental illness. Avoid using words such as “crazy” or “psycho” because these can be hurtful and make people feel ashamed. Use more positive and supportive language instead.
Stand up for others and be kind: Treat everyone with respect. Stand up for others if you see them being bullied or disrespected due to mental illness. Show compassion, understanding, and support.
Advocate for change: Speak up about the need for improved access to treatment and increased awareness about mental health disorders. Support community events, write to legislators, and share your story. Let others know that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of and help is available.
See people for who they are: Look past a person’s mental illness and see them for the amazing person they are and all that they have to offer. Lend a helping hand, a listening ear, or words of encouragement. Urge loved ones to seek treatment and support their well-being.
Seacliff recognizes the challenges that mental illness can present and provides comprehensive care for clients struggling with mental health as well as addiction. Get the help you need to support recovery and live a fuller, more meaningful life.
If you’re struggling with addiction and mental illness, there is help available. Learn more about Seacliff’s dual diagnosis program.