In recent years, we have seen a number of celebrities come forward about their own mental health struggles. That has opened the door to creating better awareness about mental illness, but there’s still stigma surrounding this topic. We need more people to spread awareness and acceptance of mental illness, so it will no longer be such a sensitive topic. Taking action in your own community can help create the important discussions that need to occur in neighborhoods across the country.
Share Your Own Experiences
Even if you have never been diagnosed with any form of mental illness, chances are good that you have struggled with some mental health problems. At some point in your life, you may have had a depressive episode, felt anxious, or suffered a blow to your self-esteem. While you may feel timid about discussing these incidents openly, sharing your experiences can help others come forward. The people you talk to about your mental health problems will realize they’re not alone. They may have had similar experiences that they’re now more willing to share. Alternatively, they may be currently struggling with similar issues, and now realize there’s someone they can come to with their problems.
Encourage Others to Open Up
You can also spread mental health awareness by encouraging others to open up about their experiences. While asking them directly to share their experiences with mental illnesses may be awkward and unproductive, you can demonstrate that you’re a willing listener. You can do this by being more conscientious in regard to the words and phrases you use. When people observe that you’re more respectful and compassionate, they will be more willing to talk about their own personal experiences. This will create a more tolerant atmosphere in your community one person at a time.
Organize a Mental Illness Screening
It’s suspected that many people do suffer from some kind of mental illness, though at such a small degree that it doesn’t really affect their daily lives. Others may be struggling, but may not know why. In either case, a free screening can give people in your community an opportunity to find out more about their own mental health. It also gives your peers access to information about mental illness, so they can understand more about how it affects families everywhere. Helping to organize the event can also help you learn more about mental health services in your city.
Start a Suicide Prevention Program
Depression is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 300 million Americans. It’s so common that the semicolon tattoo has become an emblem for those who refuse to give into their depression, sharing the idea that their story is not yet finished. Others may not be clinging to that last shred of hope. For them, setting up a suicide prevention program in your community can create a resource that they can rely on. A local hotline can provide the help people struggling with depression need in a crisis.
Get Involved in Community Events
Once you start to look, you may be surprised that there are organizations in your community that are already sponsoring annual fundraising and awareness events. Getting involved in these activities can help you learn more about mental health issues, while also giving you more opportunities to get involved. By sharing your experiences of volunteering for these charitable causes on social media, you can spread your awareness even further. You may even encourage your friends, family members, and colleagues to get involved as well. Since these events are intended to increase visibility and awareness, you’ll likely be exposed to more opportunities to network with others who share your philanthropic interests.
You may find even more ways to bring greater awareness of mental illness to your neighborhood. Anything you can do to generate understanding and compassion for the mentally ill will be a positive step in the right direction. The efforts you make to educate your community will help make mental health discussions less taboo.