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Why Does Mental Health Awareness Matter?

The Importance of Mental Health Awareness

It is estimated that in the United States alone, 19% of the general population, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children suffer from some form of mental illness each year.  However, a majority of those suffering from mental illness do not seek treatment, largely because of the social stigma associated with mental health. Additionally, many people may face accessibility issues or a lack of options because of where they live.

Mental illness can have a variety of consequences when left untreated, including higher health care costs, decreased performance at school and work, fewer employment opportunities, and a higher risk for suicide.  For this reason, mental health awareness has become increasingly important in our daily lives.

What Does Mental Health Awareness Look Like?

The campaign for mental health awareness is vital if we are to provide important resources for the millions of people who are suffering from mental illnesses in the United States. In order to promote mental health awareness, we want to make sure that people suffering from mental illnesses realize they are not alone in their struggles, and that getting treatment can make a huge difference in their lives. 

As a result of learning more about these illnesses and the ways that they affect people, individuals will be better prepared to prevent damage to their own health and happiness in the future. Additionally, people will be better equipped to recognize the signs of mental illness in their loved ones and the people around them in their everyday lives, allowing for crucial interventions and dialogues around mental health. Increasing the public’s awareness of mental health issues is an important step in ensuring that appropriate care is provided to those in need and that these conditions can be understood more easily.

Benefits of Mental Health Awareness  

Whether or not someone personally suffers from a mental health issue, mental health awareness helps people recognize the ways mental illness impacts their lives and empowers them to educate others about available services and highlight ways to advocate. There are a lot of people who are struggling with mental health symptoms who don’t realize their struggles are related to untreated disorders.  Mental health awareness helps individuals understand their symptoms and take the first steps to get the treatment they need.  

Another benefit of mental health awareness is that mental health resources will become more accessible the more people are aware of the need for mental health treatment. Without proper mental health resources, patients in need may struggle to recover or even have their symptoms exasperated. By increasing everyone’s level of mental health awareness, we can better ensure that the resources vital for those in need are always readily available. 

Taking Steps Forward

Throughout the last few decades, perceptions of mental illness have improved gradually. However, studies show that there is still stigma attached to mental illness owing in part to media stereotypes and a lack of education. People tend to attribute negative stigma to mental health conditions to a greater extent than they do to other diseases and disabilities. The stigma surrounding mental illness not only affects how many people seek treatment but also how many resources are available to them.

For someone who is struggling with a mental health condition, stigma and misinformation can feel like overwhelming obstacles and reduce their likelihood of seeking help before their condition worsens. It is for this reason that raising awareness of mental health is so important, because only through the act of raising awareness and compassion for those with mental health conditions can we end outdated stigmas and ensure that people get the help they need.

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