Spooky Season Is Here To Scare Away  Mental Health Stigmas
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Health and Wellness

Pumpkins And Ghosts Aside, Spooky Season Is Here To Scare Away Mental Health Stigmas

Just because its Halloween doesn't mean you have to be scared to ask for help.

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Pumpkins And Ghosts Aside, Spooky Season Is Here To Scare Away Mental Health Stigmas
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When you think of the month of October, I'm sure your mind wanders directly to Halloween candy or whose costume party you'll attend, but you probably seldom associate it with mental health. Well, National Mental Health Awareness Week falls on October 7th through the 13th. It was established in 1990 by the U.S Congress with the purpose of spreading awareness and increasing people's education on mental illness. This spooky season, why don't you focus on something that affects more people than you think by educating yourself and uplifting others.

Educating the public is the first step.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 Americans is affected by some type of mental health condition. This is an alarming number that really puts the issue into perspective. For the number of people suffering, the public surely doesn't discuss the topic enough. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, so to not educate ourselves on the matter is to do a disservice to the nation. With a better understanding of how common afflictions like anxiety and depression actually are, we can grow as a society and make the subject less taboo.

This year's mental health awareness week is promoting the following theme: Cure Stigma.

The stigma that is tied to mental illness creates an environment that causes people to feel like there is something wrong with them. Being mentally ill needs to be distanced from the idea of being "crazy" or "not normal." That exact negative energy is what makes providing resources difficult, not to mention worsens the state of those who are struggling. Feeling like there is something wrong with you can cause social retreat thus making it harder to establish connections to resources that offer help. The most important thing to know is that being mentally ill does not take away from your humanity.

How to help.

You don't have to acquire a Ph.D. in Psychology to be able to help those around you. For a person who is mentally struggling, the best thing you can be for them is a bridge to better resources. Whether that branch of help comes medically or in the form of being their new gym partner, you can absolutely lend a hand. A pertinent aspect of trying to help those in your life is knowing that everyone accepts different forms of help and has a different road to happiness. You don't have to have all the answers; helping provide resources that do have them is enough.

Mental Health Awareness Week is in the peak season of mental illness since experts say that Autumn can actually worsen both anxiety and depression. The shorter days, cooler weather and return to work or school all have prominent effects on society's mental health, which is why spreading awareness is so important. If you yourself are suffering or you know someone else who is, understand that you are not alone and that there is help available. Mental health can be quite a scary subject, but it doesn't have to be if we all work to educate ourselves and help those around us.

Resources:

Need help finding treatment? Psychology Today offers a national directory of therapists, groups, and psychiatrists and can help you find one in your area.

In an immediate crisis, you can call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or get more information at suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Have more questions? The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) provides information regarding treatment, prevention, and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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