Taking care of your mental health is equally as critical as taking care of your physical health. Yet, it’s often easy to ignore the impacts of stressful lives and every day worries. Arlene Guzman points out that it’s also essential to recognize mental illness’s impact on those who live with it and on their caretakers.
In 2020, nearly 53 million Americans lived with a mental health condition, but fewer than half sought help. Following the Covid19 pandemic, the number of people experiencing depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues continues to rise. The impact of mental illness can be exacerbated when individuals feel they can’t ask for help. Here’s why raising awareness about mental health is so important.
Awareness Highlights Importance of Mental Health
Mental health is essential for overall health. Mental health impacts physical health and vice versa: poor physical health can lead to adverse mental health conditions, and negative mental health issues contribute to poor physical health outcomes.
Raising awareness around the importance of mental health may make it a priority in society. When society prioritizes the well-being of its citizens, everyone stands to benefit. Americans tend to shrug off stress, anxiety, and depression as simply a fact of life. They may feel guilty or selfish for taking time off to focus on their well-being, weak for admitting they need a break or feel like they just don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. However, as Arlene Guzman quickly reminds everyone, when people take care of themselves, they have more to give to others.
Awareness Increases Compassion
You never know what life is like for another individual until you walk a mile in their shoes. Raising awareness around mental health also opens people’s eyes to what it’s like for those with mental illnesses. When you realize how much your mental state affects your life, you may get a sense of what it’s like for an individual with severe mental health issues. When you can imagine what it’s like for them, compassion develops. If the person with mental illness is you, you can allow yourself to feel self-compassion.
Awareness Reduces Stigma: Arlene Guzman Says It’s Time
Arlene Guzman says compassion is the key to removing the stigma people often attach to mental illness. Rather than people averting their eyes, ignoring the signs of trouble, or fearing the condition, compassion allows everyone the freedom to talk about mental health and mental illness and recognize the strength and courage it takes to live with a debilitating condition. Importantly, awareness and compassion also make it OK to ask for and give help. Arlene Guzman hopes that in the process, society might reverse the trajectory of worsening mental health it’s on and, in doing so, improve the quality of life for everyone.