What is Mental Health Literacy?

 

This concept is a product of the development of health literacy. Health literacy is something that helps with longevity and quality of life. As a branch of medicine, psychiatry also needed to have specific information about its conditions, in order to lower suicides and other injuries, and overall, provide a better quality of life for people with mental health conditions.

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Mental health literacy means:

“More recently, informed by previous definitions of MHL and current definitions of HL, MHL has been defined as: understanding how to obtain and maintain positive mental health; understanding mental disorders and their treatments; decreasing stigma related to mental disorders; and, enhancing help-seeking efficacy (knowing when and where to seek help and developing competencies designed to improve one’s mental health care and self-management capabilities).”

Source: Jorm, A.F.; Korten, A.E.; Jacomb, P.A.; Christensen, H.; Rodgers, B.; Pollitt, P. (1997). “Mental health literacy”: a survey of the public’s ability to recognize mental disorders and their beliefs about the effectiveness of treatment”. Medical Journal of Australia166: 182–186.

“More recently, understanding of HL has evolved into a broader construct that is considered fundamental to improving a person’s health outcome, decreasing health inequities in populations, and enhancing the operation of health systems and the development of health policy. Thus it is now recognized as necessary to improve health outcomes at both the individual and population levels.”

Source:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4813415/

As you can see, it’s something that is very important and that concerns everyone, especially those of us with mental health conditions but not only us. People with no mental health problems should be aware of mental illness, in a natural and informed way.

Mental health literacy is composed of knowledge, recognition, and attitudes.

Knowledge is the largest part of mental health literacy. It is divided into 4 subtypes:

-Risk factors;

-Where and how to get information:  the networks and support systems people use to obtain information about mental health conditions. Friends, family, educators, entertainment or social media, among others;

-Causes of mental health conditions;

-Professional help: knowing how to get professional help and what type of help is available.

-Self-help: what one can do to get better without professional help, using self-help books and media, for example. It’s not advisable sometimes because of the severity of the conditions and its symptoms.

Recognition refers to the recognition of symptoms or conditions. Specific illness recognition refers to the ability to notice that someone has a mental health condition and which one. Symptom recognition is to determine by the behaviors, beliefs, and other manifestations of mental conditions, that someone has a condition; without knowing in specific which one.

Some efforts have been made on promoting knowledge but other researchers argue that changing attitudes by reducing stigma is a more effective way of creating real change in mental health discourse. Ultimately, both contribute to ending the stigma.

Attitudes are researched in two subtypes:

-Attitudes about mental health conditions and people that suffer from them;

-Attitudes about seeking professional health.

Attitudes are various and are often difficult to analyze or target with intervention.

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Surveys

There have been made surveys about mental health literacy, in several countries, and the results are not the best. People are very uninformed about it, mistrust medications and psychiatrists. They even state that only people with weak character have mental health conditions. This is what we face and why we have to keep quiet about mental illness most of the time.

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Ways to improve this

-Community campaigns;

-Individual training programs;

-School-based interventions;

-Sites and books aimed at the general public.

I wish I had the courage to share my blog with family, friends, and acquaintances but I fear being judged. There’s a possibility that I have said this before but I feel like I can only do it once I have success in life. When I have things to show for and achievements. The label of the aimless, mentally ill woman is not what I want. My blog will continue to talk about mental health, BPD and stigma. That’s my contribution to the word, right now. Though I would like to do more. Maybe do public speaking when I’m recovered. Do a Ted Talk. Haha. Something that pushes things forward, into the 21st century.

Let’s continue to write on our blogs about our lives with mental health conditions, our struggles, our victories. People will eventually see that we are not to be feared or mocked; medication and psychiatrists can be helpful; having a mental illness doesn’t mean that you’re weak, you’re just wired differently and you can have a normal life.

We are not inferior or defected or broken or whatever people want to call us. Information is key so I’ll try to provide more resources for people who seek to know about mental health conditions and those who have them.

Let’s show people that we have limitations, like everyone else but we still succeed. I see so many big and small victories on WordPress. People are evolving and growing. Becoming self-aware. Becoming more familiar with their symptoms and how to deal with them. Mental Health Literacy is key. We will do this endeavor and educate as many people as possible. It’s important that we share each other’s posts on social media, the best posts, the ones that really tackle the issue.

What bothers me is that some people seem to not be permeable to these ideas and concepts. They don’t know and they don’t want to know. I have no idea how to reach those types. The ones that will rant about Big Pharma and that all psychiatrists are quacks. The ones that tell you to stop taking your meds and just change your diet. Those people will be our biggest challenge but I believe we can do it anyway.

How is your mental health literacy? What are you doing to reduce stigma?

 

Images courtesy of Pixabay.

 

 

 

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Mental health stigma I experience and night thoughts

I’m here to talk about mental health stigma again. How people choose to believe that medication is terrible and you’re hurting yourself, instead of focusing on the fact that I’m here and I’ve survived. All thanks to medication. I would really appreciate if that person had empathy towards me. You know the drill: cold person, really not a lot of empathy. Being blunt and brutal in what you say. I know a few people like this. The stigma is so strong and cultural. Meds may not be the best thing that happened to you, but to some, they are very helpful. Please, don’t discourage people from taking medication. It is vital to some. I have to agree with some of the tips but exercise and good food aren’t enough to secure good mental health.

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You have “normal” people and “crazy” people. Mental health conditions are genetic and you always say that it runs in your family. It doesn’t add up. You have a mental health condition, too. You’ve had it since you were small. Something broke you. I’m so very sorry it was like that.  Friendship is healing. Friendship is a connection between kindred spirits. That’s the only way I can have. People can vent and console each other. It creates a very strong bond. Friends help each other and cooperate. The future is cooperative, not competitive, in my opinion.

I hope the future is good and prosperous. I hope AI turns out to be mostly great for us, without any serious disadvantages. Some people are predicting doom for society; others are hopeful, they think it will save humanity; and, finally, there’s me, the “wait and see” girl. The skeptic. It could go very wrong and very right. Who knows? State your opinion below.

Transhumanism is rising. Some people want to be immortal. Some want cellular rejuvenation. Human trials are being done. Lots of good things are happening. We need to focus on those. Cancer research is advancing. Some people say the singularity will happen soon. Others say it won’t happen any time soon. Again, who knows? Should we trust the techno-optimist specialist or the more skeptic one? Do you want to dream or be awake? The decision is yours. Always yours. You have the power to change.

I hope you don’t think I’m trying to be a motivational speaker or a coach or anything. I’m just a normal human being trying to cheer people up. That is my goal. To entertain people, talk about all sorts of things. I have so much to share. Poetry, prose, my journal, articles. I’ve only been writing my journal and poetry. I hope you’re okay with it. I’ll go back to writing more informative pieces soon. It’s been so emotionally tiring, mainly the breakup. I keep myself distracted. I hang out with friends, I write and draw. I work from home as a freelancer. That’s how I support myself. Someone asked in a comment and it’s now answered.

view of table with laptop, tablet and presents

4 am and I’m still up. Oh well. I’ll probably sleep in. I only slept 6 hours today. I’m tired but I feel like staying up to write. I’ve been going to sleep early. I don’t want this schedule to become the norm but I need to express myself. There’s this urgency about it. I can’t help it.

Feelings come and feelings go. Enjoy your good feelings and embrace or let go of the bad ones. Hack your feelings. You have the power to manipulate them. There are numerous ways. Some people fall in love, head over heels and see nothing wrong with a person. I, on the other hand, keep my eyes open and don’t let passion blind me. Red flags are red flags any time. You focus on the good parts, not the bad. But it’s good to keep your mind open. To see if the person is suitable for you. Don’t decide with your heart, decide with your mind. Trust your gut. Some people are just trouble. You can’t deal with them normally.

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I keep it to myself a lot. Sometimes people don’t know if I’m home or not, I just shut down, I never hear the doorbell.  I also don’t like unexpected visitors, so it’s a good thing that I can’t hear the doorbell. The weirdest people can ring your bell. I never open the door, unless I know the person and, even then, I might not open. You better call me before you come. Please, don’t ring the doorbell like a fool. That is unnecessary.

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I had a really great day, talking to M and Z. They are two of my closest friends. I know Z personally and M only online. He is based on the UK.  We spend a lot of time talking, exchanging ideas, etc. Ah, the wonders of modern technology. Voice chatting with friends. A poor substitute but still one of social interaction. Being alone is also good, there’s always something to do, something to learn, something to enjoy. I really like being introverted. People tire me after a day together. Sometimes after just a few hours. I get drained. I need to recharge by myself. Anyone else like this? I understand loneliness and solitude. A solitary life is not necessarily bad if you surround yourself with the right kind of people. Find people with no mental health conditions or someone who manages it by now. Find people that won’t be a burden to you.

Sometimes we like who we shouldn’t like. What do we do? Do we follow the feeling? No way, You ignore it and let it go away. You have to be strong and independent. You, me, him. Everyone.

I will talk about mental health stigma again and again. Its one of the reasons why I made my blog. I try to be as open as possible about my mental health condition, so stigma affects me directly. I’m the one with an issue and I take medication. You should do exercise and this and that. Doctors are not trustworthy, big pharma. Man, some people are just something. What weird phases people go through. I can tolerate it from a friend but that person will listen to me and see that the stigma is real and it hurts. It hurts a lot. It affects my mental health, my self-esteem. It’s not a good thing and I will tell you to back off. Or leave you alone without saying a word. This pisses people off but it’s one of my strategies to avoid conflict. Screaming or arguing is not my style. I prefer to keep it cool but express my feelings of disagreement.

What is worse is when people gaslight others, like myself. It rarely happens but it can happen. People are like that. “You’re too sensitive”, “You need to be strong”. I just can’t express how much I hate some of the criticism I get from people. Though sometimes, people are right and you feel terrible but enlightened. It’s good to have people like that in your life. The kinder, the better.  There are still people like that, they’re out there. My ex is one of them, he is a kind man. We’re still friends. It’s a good feeling. I will have a cup of coffee with him soon. He didn’t cause any problems or overreact. He was very nice and polite. He respected my mental health condition but sometimes he blamed all my actions on it and I didn’t like it.

Stigma comes in many forms. If you’re open about issues, it will happen to you and it is up to you to enlighten people. Just be mindful and aware of people who want to disagree with you, just because. That is annoying and not helpful at all. It almost never happens to me, thankfully. Maybe someone can relate to this and see it for the toxic behavior that it is. Toxic people also come in many forms. We must be awake and aware of them.

How are you feeling today?

Much love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

People with mental health conditions are not weak

I recently met a girl online, through a friend. She lives in another city. We have been discussing mental health and she said something that really grinds my gears. When people say you are weak for having a mental health condition (MHC). It infuriates me. I’m not weak and neither is anyone with an MHC.

You may find odd that I don’t say mental illness. I don’t like the sound of it, I think it’s a derogatory term that is also dehumanizing. It’s just like having a physical problem, only it’s in the mind. People react to things differently. We all have similarities and differences. We should respect our differences. Respect personal experiences we know nothing about.

Yes, I may be more sensitive and that is why I can overreact or be depressed for a few days about something. Isolate myself in order to not interact with anyone. Be avoidant. I have had many disappointments. I seek comfort in my space. I alienate myself but I can’t. I have to face things. I have started to take some steps in the right direction. Working out, seeing a therapist, waking up early. I still have to work on going to bed early haha. What I do and because my life allows me to do it at the moment, is take a nap in the afternoon to compensate for what I didn’t sleep at night.

People with an MHC are strong, they go through a lot. They have to overcome many obstacles, many things that people take for granted. Like being able to go outside anytime you want. Or going to a crowded place. People that hear voices have trouble falling asleep as the voices keep waking them up and scaring them. People with OCD have certain patterns and things they must do, in order to feel okay. And we still go out and do things. Against ourselves, struggling but we still make it. That should be respected and cherished. But it’s not. We are outcasts, invisible, forgotten, overlooked. Only truly amazing people see the good in us. See how we struggle and how we’re trying to do what we have to do.

I found these articles:

People Are Either Mentally Strong or Mentally Weak

There aren’t two categories of people – the mentally strong and the mentally weak. Instead, everyone possesses mental strength to some degree and we all have the ability to become stronger. Just like you have to keep working out to stay physically strong, mental strength requires ongoing exercise and practice.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201501/the-5-biggest-myths-about-mental-strength

Society often gives the message that displaying emotions or asking for help is weak. Well, society’s message is just plain wrong and ridiculous. Society needs some therapy. It is incredibly brave to get help. Some of the most courageous, inspiring, badass people I know have mental health conditions, got treatment and rock at their lives.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-griffin/6-reasons-why-people-with-mental-illnesses-are-strong-not-weak_b_9204122.html

I think most of the world’s problems is not respecting differences. Being afraid of people with an MHC is not helpful. I believe that the problem is society and our fears to be shamed or associated with people that are deemed weak or a misfit. Unless we find really compassionate and patient people that stick with us or we are left struggling alone or even being criticized by peers and family members. That is why online communities are important. We share what we are comfortable with, meet new people (in a less difficult way than it is in real life). We support each other. Some are struggling, some are feeling better and want to help others. There’s no need to feel alienated, there are people like you here and in other communities.

You are strong, you are beautiful.

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We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses and we are fighting for change. Focus on that and, slowly but surely, as more and more people are affected by it, mentalities will change. This is what I believe in.

Image by Tumisu, courtesy of Pixabay.

Reblog: I’m still me (empowering post about stigma)

I wasn’t diagnosed with anything “scary” to other people until I was in my mid-20’s. They accepted the PTSD because it made sense with what I had been through. They accepted the Generalized Anxiety Disorder because they had seen me go through the attacks. They even accepted the incorrect diagnosis of “clinically depressed” because they […]

via I’m Still Me — The Bipolar Writer