Our holistic approach to wellness acknowledges every area of self: mind, body, spirit, and soul. However, our current beauty industry often focuses on the body and outward appearances. And although there is nothing wrong with tending to our physical wellness, the unavoidable and constant marketing of standards of beauty and the products to get us there, often takes away from the attention we should be paying to the other areas of our lives, in particular, the state of our minds. As Mental Illness Awareness week approaches, we want to encourage you to take another look into your own understanding of mental health, mental illnesses, and the ways to cope, find resources, and support others.
Established in 1990 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Illness Awareness week was created to bring awareness to and educate people about the truth of mental illness while dispelling the stigmas surrounding it. During this time, mental health advocates, institutions, and organizations host a series of sponsored programs, workshops, and fairs across the nation to further the cause.
The harsh reality is that the effects of mental illness often put strains on relationships with family and friends, productivity at work, and personal development. Undiagnosed conditions and our misunderstanding of mental illness adds to this because many people don’t realize they are living with a mental illness or don’t know how to cope with a loved one who does. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 out of 5 adults in America have a mental illness. Many more remain undiagnosed due to unfortunate stigmas surrounding mental illness and seeking professional help.
Even more, a wide range of medical insurance policies do not cover the cost for seeking professional medical help for mental illness, leaving individuals to foot the bill or forgo the idea to avoid a medical expense they can’t afford. In many underprivileged areas, the mental illness and mental health organizations available are grossly underfunded and often staffed with individuals not fully equipped to treat a variety of conditions. In too many instances, many people are jailed following public episodes that put themselves or others in danger. Even then, they do not receive the proper medical attention to address their condition outside of being a crime.
This week, we are committed to doing the work and being a part of a solution by first bringing awareness to the truth and issues surrounding mental illness. As you read along, we hope that you will join us in our efforts. Be part of the conversation and listen to the real accounts of those living with mental illness. Encourage friends and family to push past stigmas that shame them from seeking professional medical help for their mental health. Do the research. Participate in a workshop. Equip and educate yourself with the tools to support someone with mental illness. And if that person is you, we hope that this post is the push you need to take the first step towards getting the help you need.