There is a fear of judgment and prejudice when it comes to mental health. Some people are afraid of admitting that they struggle with mental health and or they fail to seek help. Mental health is unfortunately treated differently from other forms of health. It is just as important and a large part of our general health and well-being. Most often, genetics, environment, and lifestyle all have an influence on whether or not someone develops a mental health condition. Millions of Americans are affected by mental illness, yet there is a strong negative stigma associated with mental health. There are many organizations and initiatives that are working to end the stigma around mental illness. Some of these include: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Active Minds, and The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery.

There has also been strong public support from the Royal Family regarding mental illness. Prince William, Princess Kate, and Prince Harry have launched a new joint initiative called The Heads Together Campaign. Their mission states, “Heads Together wants to get people talking and sharing stories to change the conversation on mental health”. Specific populations that are greatly affected by mental illness that the Heads Together Campaign focuses on are young people, emergency response, homeless populations, and veterans.

The ultimate goal is to work to de-stigmatize mental illness. In order to accomplish this goal, collaborative efforts are needed from all parties. Let us reconstruct the social stigma surrounding mental health and support those living with mental health illnesses!

Stages of a Mental Health Condition

Stage 1: a person begins to show symptoms of a mental health condition, but is still able to maintain the ability to function at home

Stage 2: usually becomes obvious that something is wrong. A person’s symptoms may become stronger and last longer or new symptoms may start appearing

Stage 3: symptoms have continued to increase in severity. A person may feel as though they are losing control of their life

Stage 4: the combination of extreme, prolonged and persistent symptoms and impairment often results in development of other health conditions

Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, Heads Together, Mental Health America, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Lifework Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.