In light of World Mental Health Day, here is a myriad of ways you can show your support for those struggling with mental illness and break the stigma.
Research has shown that in a person’s overall health and well-being, mental health plays a rather important role. For millions of people around the world, it is quite the struggle to achieve this delicate balance in their daily lives.
Nearly one in four people in the world will be affected by a mental health issue at some point in their lives, and unfortunately, nine out of those 10 people will experience discrimination and stigma because of it. Every year on October 10, World Mental Health Day is observed, with the overall objective being to raise awareness of mental health issues globally and organizing efforts in which mental health is supported.
Mental health informs every area of your life, and because of this, the theme for this year’s World Mental Healthy Day 2017 is mental health in the workspace. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental disorders that have an impact on our ability to work, and to work productively.” According to WHO, anxiety and depression disorders cost the global economy 1 trillion in United States dollars each year because of lost productivity.
Most of us adults spend a lot if not most of our time at work, and when it comes to progressing the mental health conversation it's quite important to address mental health at work. Here are some beneficial ways that we can support World Mental Health Day in our workplace as well as everywhere else.
1. Educate yourself
The more you understand about what mental illness really is, the better it will be for you to understand your family and friends who may be battling some kind of mental illness. Classes are even offered if you feel compelled to learn more.
2. Advocate for wellness programs in the workplace
Since most of must spend around 40 hours a week or more in the workplace it's important to your health to have some kind of ample wellness program in place. If your work somewhere that doesn't currently have one, it never hurts to ask about starting a program. Mental health and stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, or a fitness class will encourage people to help rejuvenate their minds and bodies. Even just ensuring everyone in the office takes a break is vital.
Every company's wellness program may look different to another company's, but what really matters is that the wellness program strives to create a healthier workplace environment. Here are some great wellness program ideas to get you started along with a list of companies with unique wellness programs that work.
3. Pledge to fight the stigma
It is already tough enough to navigate through life with a mental health condition, and secrecy, blame, and isolation often times are encouraged by stigma. This can cause massive challenges when it comes to getting the support needed.
The National Alliance on Mental Health’s StigmaFree campaign was founded to end stigma and create hope for all those affected by mental illness. Through our action and influential words, we can all help eradicate the systematic and social barriers for those living with mental health conditions.
4. Be kind to those around you
Small acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone's day and even their life. Since Mental Heath Day 2017 is all about mental health in the workplace, it couldn't hurt for these random acts of kindness to spill over into your place of work. Providing encouragement, making a new colleague feel welcome, and actually listening to your co-workers when they come to you are all supportive things you can do to make your workplace a much more pleasant place to be at day after day.
5. Speak out about mental health
Many people are afraid to even speak out about mental illness because of the stigma that surrounds it, but we need to recognize the symptoms of depression to help those closest to us. We need to speak up and ask tough questions to find out what's going on with our loved ones. Withdrawal from social interaction, lack of energy, changes in appetite, sleeping more than usual or difficulty sleeping, and having a hard time remembering or concentrating are all signs of depression.
Most importantly when we see these symptoms, we must talk to our friends and family and let them know we are here for them in any capacity they need.
If every person on the planet could perform small acts of support, then just maybe that could totally change the way in which mental health is viewed.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters,Mohamed Abd El-Ghany