Embracing Mental Health Awareness

Mehak Saggu
Mental health awareness is really important to someone like me who has suffered from stress and anxiety throughout high school.

TW: PTSD, anxiety, depression

Mental health awareness is a crucial topic. It’s an understanding of the significance of mental health and the necessity for individuals to prioritize their well-being. Mental health awareness is really important to someone like me who has suffered from stress and anxiety throughout high school. However, with the assistance of online resources and accessible mental health courses, I understood and learned the importance of mental health and how it can affect everything from my personal life to academic success. 

Stress, trauma, and social isolation are all examples of factors that might affect our mental health. For instance, anxiety disorders like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder can be worsened by ongoing stress. Physical signs like headaches or stomach aches, excessive worrying, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, and impatience can all be signs of anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may occur in victims of stressful experiences such as physical abuse, accidents, or witnessing violence. Invading memories or flashbacks of the traumatic event, nightmares, unbearable anxiety, avoiding reminders, emotional numbness, and hyperarousal are just a few symptoms that may appear. Mental health may suffer greatly when people are socially isolated and lack meaningful connections. Long-term social isolation, for example, might cause emotions of loneliness, sadness, and anxiety. There can be a loss of interest in previously liked hobbies, withdrawal from social situations, and difficulties establishing new relationships.

As someone who began to prioritize mental health, I can surely say it has been a game-changer. I now recognize the constant progress I've made to take care of my mental and physical health in the same way. Accepting that mental illness is not a choice and that it is not easily treated; it needs knowledge, support, and treatments. For instance, it entails acknowledging that mental health is not only an individual issue but also a social one that needs a collaborative effort to overcome.

During my first two months of volunteering with special needs kids, they inspired me and taught me the value of mental health. Through my interactions with special needs children, I've acquired significant knowledge about compassion, tolerance, and the importance of recognizing individuality for mental health. I've been pleased to experience the impact of tiny acts of kindness and the delight they provide. Besides that, these kids have taught me to slow down as well as the importance of just listening and being present. What amazes me the most about these children is their unique perspective on the world. Overall, my connection with these children has taught me the importance of good mental health and how to approach someone when they need assistance.

Mental health awareness, in my opinion, involves being supportive of others and building an environment in which individuals feel comfortable discussing their mental health. It requires being compassionate, nonjudgmental, and actively listening to persons who may be experiencing mental health problems. Mental health awareness involves eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness and encouraging people to seek care when required. Mental health awareness also includes learning about mental health concerns and the supports accessible to those in need. It requires accepting that mental health concerns may affect everyone, regardless of their history or circumstances, and that seeking care for mental health issues is not a show of weakness.

Additionally, developing mental health and building understanding are critical components for overall wellness. Individuals can improve their mental health in a variety of ways. For starters, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle by engaging in regular physical activity, using soothing strategies such as meditation or deep breathing, and having enough sleep. Building strong social relationships and wanting help from friends, family, or experts when necessary may also make a significant impact. Developing self-care behaviors, such as indulging in hobbies, setting limits, and practicing self-compassion, can also help to enhance mental health.

However, one significant barrier to mental health improvement is the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Stigma leads to discrimination, judgment, and the perpetuation of stereotypes, preventing individuals from seeking help and support. For instance, a person struggling with depression may be afraid to reach out for assistance due to fear of being labeled as weak or unreliable. To reduce stigma, education, and awareness campaigns can play a vital role. Promoting open discussions about mental health, challenging stereotypes, and sharing personal experiences can help normalize seeking help while fostering empathy and understanding.  

To summarize, mental health awareness is an important component of our lives that must be considered. It means recognizing the significance of mental health, acknowledging the elements that might influence our mental health, and being supportive of ourselves and others. Mental health awareness means understanding that mental illness is not a choice and necessitates comprehension, support, and treatment. We can reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and build a more caring and empathic society by raising mental health awareness.

Mehak Saggu (she/her) is a 17-year-old senior who lives in NJ. She is involved with Community Health Advocacy, and is a selfsea Youth Brand Ambassador. Mehak enjoys working on community projects and engaging with her friends and classmates.