Being aware and sensitive to mental health is important for many reasons. There has been a great deal of progress with regard to understanding the importance of taking care of one’s mental health. Although some people seek professional counseling, others may be skeptical of how a counselor or therapist can help them. If you’re considering finding a therapist for yourself, you may be ready to make a change in your life for the better.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans have a mental illness, suggesting that mental illness is extremely common. One in five people living with mental illness means that if you’re sitting at a table for lunch with five of your friends, one of you likely has anxiety, depression, bipolar, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another mental illness.
What does it mean to be aware of mental health? It means taking care of you. it means being mindful of your triggers and noticing if something makes you anxious or depressed. When you feel those feelings, own them. Don’t run away from something that’s causing you distress. That can sound scary, but it’s actually better than avoiding your pain. When you confront your feelings head on, you’re able to better understand what you’re going through, process those feelings, and move on.
People are much more willing to talk about mental illness than previously. It’s not shameful to have a mental health issue, and it can be liberating for people to express what they’re going through. In doing this, they can find people to relate to and feel less alone. That’s the thing about living with mental health issues—it can make you feel isolated and different. You are not weird or a “freak” because you have a mental illness. You are a human being who has a legitimate health issue.
Mental illness is real. Even if it’s hard to do, find someone you feel comfortable with and talk about your feelings. There are also mental health professionals who are trained to help you with these concerns. Don’t give up on finding help. You are not alone! A mental health professional may be the one to change your life. They care about you and can guide you through your struggles and show you that there is a better quality of life out there.
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York. Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.