Post Mortem

The Importance of Mental Health Awareness

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/8/2021 1:30:15 PM IST

 Mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers and 13% of children each year. People struggling with their mental health may be in your family, live next door, teach your children, work in the next cubicle or sit in the same church pew. However, only half of those affected receive treatment, often because of the stigma attached to mental health. Untreated, mental illness can contribute to higher medical expenses, poorer performance at school and work, fewer employment opportunities and increased risk of suicide.

What exactly is a Mental Illness?

A mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that makes it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. Research is starting to uncover the complicated causes of these diseases which can include genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, experiencing trauma and/or having another medical condition, like heart disease.

The two most common mental health conditions are:

Anxiety Disorders – More than 18% of adults each year struggle with some type of anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (panic attacks), generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobias.

Mood Disorders – Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar depression, affect nearly 10% of adults each year and are characterized by difficulties in regulating one’s mood.

What can you do to help?

Although the general perception of mental illness has improved over the past decades, studies show that stigma against mental illness is still powerful, largely due to media stereotypes and lack of education, and that people tend to attach negative stigmas to mental health conditions at a far higher rate than to other diseases and disabilities, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

Stigma affects not only the number seeking treatment, but also the number of resources available for proper treatment. Here are few powerful things you can do to help:

• Showing individuals respect and acceptance removes a significant barrier to successfully coping with their illness.

• Advocating within our circles of influence helps ensure these individuals have the same rights and opportunities as other members of your church, school and community.

• Learning more about mental health allows us to provide helpful support to those affected in our families and communities.

Jean Holthaus, LISW, LMSW

 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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