[FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][COLOR=#1d2129]Hey everyone! I am an RN student graduating this month and for one of my last assignments I have to post to a healthcare/nursing forum and ask a question. One topic that has been on my mind lately is mental health awareness. I've come to realize though nursing school that there are many negative perceptions as well discomfort associated with talking about these issues. How do you think that we, as a society can improve mental health awareness and minimize the negative perceptions/discomfort for these people?[/COLOR][/FONT]
I'll bite, especially if you need replies for this.
I think one major way is to increase the accurate portrayals of mental illness in media--movies, tv shows, video games, the news, etc. Mental illness is often sensationalized to entertain and get an audience. It's this idea that people with schizophrenia or DID are "crazies" who dangerous and unpredictable. People with depression just want to be unhappy and need to get out more and smile. People with mental illnesses in general can never lead productive and/or happy lives. People grow up seeing and learning these stereotypes.
And it's harmful to people with mental illnesses, who are consistently bombarded with these stories (real or not) that tell them they will never be happy or safe and they'll never be able to recover, whatever recovery personally means for them. It becomes more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the general population was given more portrayals of people with mental illness that were accurate to real experiences, I think there would be at least more understanding about how mental illness affects people and how to help people who live with it. It shows them something beyond stereotypes. It would also help more individuals recognize when they are in poor mental health and that seeking some type of help or treatment can deeply improve their lives, because then they've seen in media that it's improved other people's lives, and isn't something to be ashamed of. More understanding would hopefully lead to further resources and funding, which is definitely needed.
Talking about our own mental health, when able and willing, can help break the stigma and make it more okay and normal to not be okay or not be "okay" in the very specific way society has deemed acceptable.