Saturday , May 28 2022

Mental Health Awareness means talking about all kinds of mental illness


Mental illness is extremely common: Almost one in five adults in the United States live with a mental illness, according to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH). But despite its prevalence, there is still a great deal of stigma associated with mental health conditions. That stigma can have far-reaching consequences, from limiting our understanding of these conditions to interfering with a person's willingness to seek treatment when they really need it.

The good news is that, culturally, we are making some progress on that stigma. I have written and edited health content for just over a decade, and it has been amazing to see how the mental health conversation has evolved in that period. Many brave people have shared stories in public about their experiences in informing mental health conditions. And as the welfare industry explodes, our cultural understanding is also that being healthy and looking after you own means that you need to look after your mental health, and that means trying to get help if you will need it.

It is no longer daunting when a celebrity discusses a therapist, or lives with depression or anxiety. That 's partly because we have made some progress towards normalizing these things and making it clear that they are incredibly common and nothing to be ashamed of. Work is still done, of course, but there is also a good reason to feel optimistic. We go to the right direction.

That said, some mental health conditions still remain in the shadows, with a disproportionate share of awareness and attention. One condition of this type is bipolar disorder.

This is on my mind because 30 March is the World's Bipolar Day.

The mission of this day is to bring awareness to bipolar disorder and eliminate social stigma. Bipolar disorder is one of the most misunderstood mental disorders, and the confusion of its scope continues even as we make progress in the way we talk about other mental health conditions. Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder characterized by significant mood changes and energy levels, t according to NIMH. These shifts are referred to as “mood swings” and can come in different forms, although the two main types are manic chapters and depression heads. There are many types of bipolar disorder, each depending on the symptoms someone experiences and the severity, duration and combination of those symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is a complex, multifaceted mental illness that can have a significant impact on someone's everyday life. So why don't we have the time and space that anxiety and depression are given in our joint conversations about mental health?

Certainly, part of this story is that anxiety and depression are among the most common illnesses. While we estimate 31.1 per cent Adults in the UK will experience anxiety disorder at some point 4.4 per cent is experiencing bipolar disorder. That can be a much smaller part of our population, but there are still millions of people affected by the condition.

Of course, this does not mean that the stigma of anxiety and depression is being done; rather, our call to action is to bring that energy to other mental health conditions as well.

ONE, we strive to talk about the nuances of mental health conditions not only on awareness days but throughout the calendar year. We have been making a real effort over the last few months to create more content around a wider range of mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder. That includes talking about the basics (like key facts that people should know about bipolar disorder) as well as real stories from people living with the condition (like this personal essay about how it feels to experience psychosis, which is a symptom for some people with bipolar disorder. But the conversation shouldn't end there. We try our best to give people who live with bipolar disorder really useful information about writing about treatment, symptoms, how to deal with them mood chaptersand how to do it navigation side effects of medication.

Beyond bipolar disorder, we have also been working to provide more attention to other mental health conditions that have been stigmated and their misunderstandings are heavy like schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, a OCD, among others.

I'm proud of the work we've done in this space and the stories we've raised and given them a platform. But I am also aware that it is just a start, and that there is so much more that we can and should be doing, and so many other stories that we should try to tell. The aim of SELF is to help people feel better. To reach that mission we need to do as much as we can to raise awareness and eliminate stigma throughout the year – just what Bipolar World Day is calling for.


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