Mental health awareness is crucial to being able to support your friends, colleagues and relatives during difficult times. Having an awareness of some common mental health challenges and their symptoms enables you to reach out to people in need and reduce the stigma around mental health conversations.
On top of helping others, boosting your mental health awareness can actually help you to look after your own mental health and identify challenges sooner.
Mental Health Literacy
The first step to boosting your mental health awareness is to access all the literacy you can. At Shawmind, we’ve created many mental health guides for different groups of people and mental health challenges, including:
You can search for more mental health guides on our website, and also read individual mental health stories and get quick mental health tips in our blog.
Publishing company Trigger has a wide selection of mental health books that can help you improve your mental health awareness and support you with the challenges you’re facing.
Tip: Follow mental health organisations and ambassadors on social media to get advice and support straight in your feed without having to go looking for it.
Early Mental Health Support
When you first become aware of mental health challenges in your life, there are a range of low-commitment support options that you can explore – knowing what these are and how they can help makes tackling your mental health much less daunting.
Talking about your mental health challenge with someone is one of the simplest ways to start. We offer different ways that people can talk with trained volunteers who can provide advice, lend a kind ear and even signpost professional services if needed. These include:
Helplines are offered by many mental health organisations that you can text or call 24/7 to discuss any problem you’re facing without judgement. Find a mental health helpline.
Mental health first aiders are individuals in the workplace who have been trained to support you with mental health challenges you may be facing before a professional mental health specialist is contacted. You can go to a mental health first aider to discuss how you’re feeling during work hours and with someone who can provide recommendations based on an understanding of how the company works.
Accessing mental health support without a diagnosis
If you require professional mental health support, you can access a lot of it without needing an official diagnosis of a mental health disorder. Many organisations offer support services that only require a self-referral e.g. NHS talking therapies. Reach out to your preferred mental health service to find out if they accept self-referrals.
How to get a mental health diagnosis
You can struggle with mental health and access support without an official diagnosis – your challenges and feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s. Acknowledging this is a huge part of improving mental health awareness in yourself and others.
However, in some instances, a mental health diagnosis will help you to identify the best treatment options, triggers and potential risks in the future.
You can receive a mental health diagnosis from your GP for more common mental health problems like anxiety and depression after a couple of visits – however, in more complex cases they may refer you to a mental health specialist to receive a diagnosis.
It is more than likely that everyone will struggle with mental health at some point in their life. For some, this may be more severe than others – however, by increasing your own awareness you’ll be in a better position to get the support you or those you know need.
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