October 10 is the International World Mental Health day, and its goal is to raise awareness about the various mental diseases that people can suffer.

There are too many myths surrounding mental health, and the World Health Organization intends to make people more conscious about what they might experience regarding those conditions. Several celebrities joined the cause and promoted the hashtag #IAMWHOLE.

According to the WHO, somebody dies by taking their life every 40 seconds. Awareness on mental health could save some of those lives. Image Credit: News Reporter Center

The World Mental Health day also seeks to inspire efforts to help people suffering mental illness. Statistics say that one in five individuals in the U.S. has mental problems in a given year, which means 43.8 million of Americans suffering mental illness each year.

In the UK the numbers are also high: one in four adults in Britain are likely to have mental issues at some point in their life. Worldwide, there are more than 450 million people affected by this type of diseases and only 66 percent gets the professional help they need. 

Negative stereotypes surround mental illness, along with misconceptions that come from ignorance on the subject, create a stigma for those who suffer mental health problems. 

The lack of awareness makes people isolate and not seek help to treat their mental health. The stereotypes associated with certain mental problems consistently build a tall wall between individuals and mental conditions, reducing the chances to confront the problem and help those in need.

Mental health problems are defined by some as an alteration of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. These changes can affect how we think, feel, act, and how we live. Physically, our body can manifest different symptoms, but mostly, the consequences of mental illness are evidenced through psychological or psychiatric evaluations.

People experiencing mental issues can show neurotic and psychotic symptoms, two large groups of characteristics that experts use to diagnose individuals. Neurotic symptoms are explained as extreme forms of normal emotional behavior, such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

On the other hand, psychotic conditions affect a person’s reality, making people have impairing judgments and thoughts. These symptoms are frequent in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The good news is that around one in 100 people will suffer this kind of symptoms.

Getting to know the cause of mental illness and the myths that come with the diseases

There is not an exact cause of mental illness. Instead, several factors could trigger the mental conditions, including physical, psychological, and environmental factors. If an individual has to go through rough life events, they could cause a mental disease.

Genetics can be added to the list. Experts believe that some mental health problems can be passed from generation to generation due to certain abnormalities in several genes. Those abnormalities predisposed individuals to particular mental illness, although it does not mean that the person will develop the condition. Physical, environmental, and psychological factors are also needed in the picture. Bipolar disorder is one of the mental illness linked to genetics.

Regarding the myths surrounding mental health disorders, there is the common phrase “It’s all in your head,” the stigma that people suffering mental issues are violent, or that individuals are not good employees or employers if they have a mental condition.

Underestimating someone’s mental problems, such as depression and anxiety, is a dangerous mistake. It might seem easy to say: -Keep a positive attitude! Or -Snap out of that depression bro! But the truth is that if it were so easy, people would not get depressed nor anxious in the first place.

Depression and anxiety are severe mental illness and not “a phase” in somebody’s day or week. Both depression and anxiety can cause serious symptoms, including, loss of appetite, headaches, indigestion, a weak immune system, and even cardiovascular issues.

When it comes to violence, the truth is that most people with mental illness are calmed and conscious of their actions. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that only between 3 to 5 percent of patients suffering mental health problems turn out to be violent.

People can develop a regular life while facing mental issues as long as they are treated by a professional and they continue to follow their treatment, which sometimes includes pills. 

Most surprisingly, the Mental Health Association of Pennsylvania did a study that confirmed the fact that people with mental illness are more efficient than those who do not suffer them. Employers said that employees with mental conditions were more punctual and their work quality was better compared to those who not suffer mental issues.

Other myths make people believe that kids cannot suffer mental illness, that therapy does not help and with a medication you will be just fine. Or that mental conditions are more likely in certain racial groups, reports Medical Daily.

Celebrities use their voice to raise awareness on World Mental Health Day

Ed Sheeran, James Corden, and even the Royal Family joined the cause and helped spread the message of mental health. Prince William, his wife Kate Middleton, along with Prince Harry celebrated the international day riding the London Eye with young people that have battled or still battle mental illness.

There is also a campaign for YMCA and the National Health Service in the U.K. called: “I Am Whole” which wants to raise awareness through social media. The campaign encourages people to post a selfie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other medias, where the person shows one of their hands with a circle on it and the hashtag #IAMWHOLE.

The message spread is that “together we are a whole,” both people with mental illness and those who support and do their best to improve life for those struggling with mental health problems.

Source: Mirror UK