Become an Advocate for Mental Health Awareness
| By Ruth Mendelson, MSW, LCSW
World Mental Health Day
October 10th, 2021 was not so long ago. You may have noticed recognition of something called “World Mental Health Day ” on a television show you watched, maybe on the news, or likely on social media if you are a social media user.
The purpose of World Mental Health Day is an international day to raise awareness on mental health issues, advocate against the social stigmas that exist around mental health, and recognize initiatives related to supporting mental health and wellbeing. This is a day that lends itself to all stakeholders having an opportunity to share information about the work they are doing to improve mental health, whether it be in treatment, as a client, clinician, advocate and so on. This is a day to talk about what more can be done to ensure necessary mental health care options are accessible and available to all who need them. Sounds good, right? Why not make EVERY DAY World Mental Health Day? Let’s break down some of the purposes of World Mental Health Day and see how easy it is to make it EVERY DAY.
Raise Awareness on Mental Health Issues
While a lot of people are aware of common mental health struggles related to depression and anxiety, many do not have the insight into some of the common themes and topics that can be contributing factors or causes of mental health issues. Again, while so many understand that factors such as genetic predispositions, recent, or historic trauma can influence mental health, often people do not recognize some of the more nuanced and subtle influences that can impact mental health, such as:
- Other people’s expectations
- Unrealistic beauty ideals
- Societal Pressure
- Emotional Suppression
- Social Media Addiction
Taking time to reflect on influences such as these can be a really helpful and effective way to raise awareness around mental health issues. No one is immune from factors like the above, and understanding the profound impact they can have on mental health is a really important tool in being able to take our own “mental health temperature” as well as the “mental health temperature” of those around us.
Advocacy is to support a cause or policy in order to influence decision makers. It is highly likely that you or someone you know and care about has been impacted by mental health issues. On both a macro and micro level, there are so many ways to advocate for people who are affected by mental health issues. Go big or go small.
To name some relevant advocacy efforts currently on the front burner that might even be applicable to you:
- Expansion of reimbursement for continued remote and telehealth services as the world moves out of the pandemic mindset
- Improved access to mental health care for all, drawing attention to barriers that exist for many
If you are looking for a way to learn more, speak up, or speak to others, read more here.
The World Health Organization offers some really useful tools and resources to help people understand what kinds of opportunities exist that relate to initiatives supporting mental health and well-being.
Here are some ideas inspired by things you can do for yourself.
And here is where you can find data and information at a community or systemic level.
If you are interested in connecting to someone who can help you prioritize your mental health care needs, please reach out. If you want to learn more about tools that can help you, a licensed therapist or counselor can support you with your goals.
Ruth enjoys spending time with her family, friends and dog. She loves to cook, spend time outdoors and go to the beach (even when it’s cold outside).
Check out Ruth’s professional bio here!
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