Raising awareness of mental health is so important and everyone can be involved, there are so many ways you can help to raise awareness in your everyday life. If everyone plays their part, we can make our world a much more accepting and open place.
1. Do your research
Educating yourself about mental health and mental illnesses, how to help others and be there for them and what actions you can take to look after your own mental health is the first step to raising awareness. You can read blog posts, articles, watch videos, ask professionals, find out as much as you can.
2. Have open conversations
Having open and honest conversations about mental health breaks down stigma and makes others feel more able to talk about their mental health problems; the more people talk about it as a normal part of life and engage in conversations, the more awareness will be raised. Ask those in your life how their mental health is and talk about yours; talk to family, friends, work colleagues, as many people as you are able to.
3. Steer away from stigmatising language
Learn what phrases are stigmatising and don’t use them in your conversations about mental health, even if you mean them as a joke; speak up if you hear other people using stigmatising language if you feel able and explain why that is not acceptable. How you talk about yourself and your own mental illness is completely down to your own comfort level, sometimes jokes can help people cope and that’s completely valid, but ensure that you are not perpetuating stigma with others.
4. Teach those in your life about mental health
Once you have educated yourself, pass on that knowledge to your family, friends and children; spread as much of that knowledge as possible to help to teach the world about the importance of mental health. Pass on links of articles you have read or videos you have watched that you think are important; signpost people to mental health charities to encourage them to do their own research; encourage others to get involved in local mental health events or fundraising if you can.
5. Be there for friends and family
A big part of raising awareness is being there for those in your life, whether they have a mental illness or not; being there to listen and support them without judgement when they are having a hard time mentally is so vital.
6. Get involved on social media
Get involved in raising awareness through your social media platforms; speak out and share links, share your opinions and things that you have learnt; get involved in the online mental health community; use hashtags that raise awareness; share mental health charities posts and articles: all of these things can have a big impact.
7. Write your own blog or post your own video
Speaking about your own experiences can really make such a huge difference if you feel able to share your personal story; writing your own blog posts or making a video, anything that you feel comfortable with, can be so effective in letting other’s know they aren’t alone, in adding your voice to the cause and spreading the word.
8. Take care of your own mental health
It’s so important to take care of your own mental health, make sure you are putting yourself first and remember that these are only suggestions that you could do to help; don’t feel pressured to do more than you feel comfortable with or anything that is detrimental to your own mental health. Taking care of your own mental health is a big part of mental health awareness too.