Mental health is a topic that has become increasingly supported the world over in post-pandemic living. The pandemic’s effect on people mentally is just as far-reaching as the physical effects of the illness they were being protected against.
Overall, mental health issues account for over 10% of untreated health conditions worldwide, and the actual reporting of mental health concerns has risen dramatically in recent years.
Does this mean we are in the midst of a mental health crisis or that more people are aware of their feelings and willing to seek help and support? The answer can be unclear, and it’s likely to be a mix of both. After all, as science evolves and we learn more about the body and the mind, it becomes more evident that people are struggling below the surface and need help. But that’s not to discredit those who are advocating for themselves and speak out when they don’t feel themselves, or they are struggling. Regardless of how issues come to light, support should be readily available and understanding offered as standard.
But what are the implications of not accepting help for your mental health?
At a low level, it will simply take away the joy from your life. Depression can affect people to various degrees, and it can merely be the thief of joy and make the world seem more gray than it is. In severe cases, mental health problems that are left untreated can have catastrophic results on the person in question, their family, and/or their local community.
You only have to look at the increasing suicide rates of men worldwide to realize how hard it is for some people to speak up and admit that something is wrong. The popular campaign “It’s OK not to be OK” is well known, but there is a difference between taking action on this stance and supporting it from a distance.
But what is it that stops people from seeking the help they need? For some, men in particular, it is admitting they are struggling and cannot express their emotions instead of bottling things up as generations before them have done. For others, it’s an inability to realize something is going on, and they might not recognize the signs themselves to seek the treatment they need.
Sadly, in too many cases, it is not being able to afford or access the services they need, whether it’s psychological testing and counseling, being prescribed medications, or treatment to address symptoms and address what is going on mentally.
Shame, money, lack of awareness, lack of support, and fear or distrust are the main barriers that need to be addressed when helping people get the treatment and care they need to address their mental health concerns. Until these barriers are removed or at least lowered, and the stigma of struggling with mental health has been eradicated, it’s likely that those who are more vulnerable and need help won’t step forward and access the services at their disposal to help them get well.
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