When you think about your health, what's your first thought? What springs to mind may include the main, overarching physical aspects of health — the things you eat, how often you exercise, and whether your body is prone to illness. But what if when you think about health, you included mental well-being in the equation?
Before we jump into the deep end of mental health, it’s important to establish that these can be tough conversations to have with ourselves and each other, but it’s worth talking about. Let’s learn about what mental health is, plus some of the top reasons why mental health awareness is important.
- What is mental health?
- It reduces the stigma
- It normalizes mental health
- It increases awareness
- It encourages treatment
- It fosters continued education
- Mental health matters to Fusion Medical Staffing
5 Reasons Why Mental Health Awareness is Important
What is mental health?
Fun fact: your mind is the most powerful muscle in your entire body. It makes sense when you think about it — your brain is the wizard in control behind the curtain. But what exactly is mental health?
Chances are if you asked 100 people, you’d get 100 different answers. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, mental health encompasses your emotional, social, and psychological well-being. Throughout the course of your lifetime, your mental health impacts how you think, feel, and act, plus helps determine how you deal with stress, how you relate to others, and how you make your choices.
“When in a state of good mental health, a person has a generally positive outlook, can accomplish daily tasks, maintain relationships and engage in meaningful recreation,” said Dr. Darleen Dempster, a clinical faculty member in the clinical mental health counseling program at Southern New Hampshire University. “This includes a sense of balance and empowerment to set boundaries and address life and work goals, step by step.”
Here’s the good news: people want to know more about mental health and bond over shared experiences, whether it's major depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or any other mental health conditions. These are the top reasons to open up and raise mental health awareness.
1. It reduces the stigma
People who suffer from mental illnesses and conditions can often feel alone and stereotyped because of the stigma that’s tied to the topic. Even worse, the belief that mental health is something to be kept secret can further hinder those struggling, even to the point where they may feel uncomfortable and embarrassed to seek any treatment at all. Feelings of shame caused by stigma are powerful.
Mental health awareness is a relatively new concept. Until 1955, mental health wasn’t considered part of healthcare at all. Back in those days, people suffering from mental health disorders were institutionalized without real help for their condition. Even today, more than half of the people with poor mental health don’t receive help due to stigma, prejudice, and discrimination.
As part of the medical community, you can reduce stigma by sharing the importance of mental health and providing safe places for others to seek support. In doing so, you can not only increase your well-being but the well-being of others around you, as well.
Luckily, recent years have come with more opportunities to be louder and quicker to shine a light on mental health. Not only that but mental health is being recognized as a huge factor in our overall well-being.
2. It increases awareness
Discussing both good mental health and poor mental health can help raise awareness and show that there are others who struggle like you or someone you love. Having a sense of community can reduce mental health stigma because it allows you to be part of a group without feeling self-conscious and alone.
Plus, mental health awareness helps to improve your understanding of mental health and increases your knowledge about what it means to care for your own mental health needs. And if you’re not affected by mental illness firsthand, an increase in awareness and discussion never hurts.
By increasing awareness, you become part of the solution and help keep everyone well-informed on risks, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. When we talk openly about mental health, everyone can better receive the help they need without shame.
3. It normalizes mental health difficulties
Almost everyone is affected by mental illness. Whether you’re personally going through it or have a loved one who’s struggling, strong mental health is important to everyone.
Recent National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) statistics found that nearly 53 million Americans (aka, 1 in 5 U.S. adults) experience a mental health disorder in any given year. According to the World Health Organization, the most common mental health conditions are anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
The unfortunate news is these statistics are fairly conservative since other studies show that stigma can reduce the number of people who come forward about their mental illness. For instance, there are treatments to cope with anxiety, but only 37% of those affected with a mental health disorder actually get the help they may need.
By normalizing mental health issues, it becomes more and more accepted throughout society. Like most things in life, this is easier said than done. So, if you’re wondering how to normalize and highlight the importance of mental health in your life, here are some suggestions:
🧠 Check in on your loved ones on a deeper level
🧠 Speak openly about your own personal mental health experiences
🧠 Promote mental health discussions in the workplace
🧠 Make an effort to improve the language used around mental health
4. It encourages treatment
Another perk to opening up about mental health is it can build a bridge for others seeking help. Receiving treatment for mental health problems is crucial; people who live with mental health conditions are more likely to develop other medical conditions like heart disease and cancer, so talking about mental health is an excellent first step in helping to improve someone’s life and overall health.
Think about it like this: when you break a bone, what do you do? You go to your friendly neighborhood healthcare facility and receive treatment. Of course, the type of treatment you receive will depend on what part of your body is broken. For example, was it a clean break or a comminuted fracture? Will surgery be required to place pins and screws for added support? If you or someone you know breaks a bone, our initial thought is to talk to a medical professional.
Now, replace a broken bone with symptoms of depression, for instance. Depending on the individual, symptoms could include changes in sleep and appetite, lack of concentration, decreased energy levels, loss of interest in activities, and physical aches or pains.
“There should be no shame in seeking out mental health care as needed,” said Dempster. “Just as one would not feel shame in seeking medical care for a persistent medical issue.”
In the scenario of a broken bone, you might not think twice about treatment. That’s because physical health isn’t as taboo as mental health, and broken bones don't often have symptoms like lowered self-worth.
But like a broken bone, the type of mental health help you receive will depend on your symptoms, situation, and personality. The more mental health treatment is encouraged, the more normal and less stigmatized it becomes, and the more likely you are to get help.
5. It fosters continued education
Buckle up — the discussion on mental health isn’t a short-term thing. Continuing the conversation means continuing our education on mental illnesses that not only impact us personally but also affect the people we care about and care for.
Because so many are affected, increasing awareness and education skyrockets the chances for help early on. Plus, the more education you have on mental health, the more you can work to improve the lives of others. And that’s what it’s all about.
The good news is there are loads of ways for you to fine-tune your knowledge of mental health. Here are a few suggestions.
Make an appointment
Whether you make an appointment with your general physician or book a session with a counselor or therapist, find a medical professional that can answer all your questions and bring you comfort. Remember, there's no such thing as a dumb question, so really let it out with a trusted mental health professional.
Do your own research
We live in a world where information is available with just a few clicks. As you use the great, almighty World Wide Web to your advantage, be cautious about the sites and resources you rely on. When it comes to mental health, these are some reputable sources you can count on.
🧠 Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
🧠 Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
🧠 Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA)
🧠 The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP)
🧠 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
If you want to get even more in-depth with mental health, consider attending one of NAMI’s national conventions. Each year, NAMI hosts a national convention where world-class researchers and clinicians gather for interactive workshops with other mental health enthusiasts. Think of it as the TravCon for mental health experts.
Mental health matters to Fusion Medical Staffing
Your mental health matters and it matters to us, too. That’s why Fusion Medical Staffing offers access to free 24/7 mental health services, as well as health insurance plan options with mental health coverage and a $0 copay to cover the cost of consistent care through the mental health professional of your choice. At Fusion Medical Staffing, we know that mental health is a part of daily, overall wellness, and we encourage you to do what works for you to keep your mental health in tip-top shape.
“Recognizing that you might need to talk to someone and get help is brave and healthy,” said Jessica Koch, SHRM-SCP, Fusion’s Director of Human Resources. “You can’t continue to care for others if you don’t take care of yourself.”
In addition to professional mental health resources, Fusion Medical Staffing’s clinical team and rockstar recruiters are also there for you when you need them. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone who gets it, and you’ll find that with your Fusion Medical Staffing travel team.
“Often, travelers just want someone to talk to,” said Casey Morrison, BSN, RN, Fusion’s Manager of Clinical Services and Operations. “It helps to have someone who is also clinical, because we understand what the traveler is saying and can empathize with their situation, as well as provide necessary feedback and recommendations.”
Because the people who make up Fusion Medical Staffing take the time to understand the importance of positive mental health, we’re able to foster a safe and open environment where we can share struggles and ask for extra love and support without fear or shame. And we share that attitude with our community to live our overall mission: to improve the lives of everyone we touch.
If you need someone to lean on or a casual pep talk to get you through the day, we’ve got your back. Your Fusion Medical Staffing team is here for you, day or night however you need us.
It can be tough to be a medical professional — that’s why there aren’t more yous in the world! While you may have gotten into the medical field to help others, you can channel some of that energy into your own health to ensure you’re your best you. When we put in the work to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, normalize mental health, increase mental health awareness, encourage treatment, and foster continued education, we become part of the positive change that makes the world go round.