National Depression Education and Awareness Month

Oct 26, 2015
Tagged with: National Depression Education and Awareness Month

While many people start the day with a positive attitude quotes, for some who suffer from depression and other psychological disorders, sometimes this just isn’t possible.

One of the biggest problems that those with conditions like Bipolar Disorder (sometimes called manic depressive disorder or BD) will face is the fact that many people either:

 

  • Don’t believe their condition is real
  • Have misconceptions about their condition
  • Treat them differently
  • Attach inaccurate stigmas to them

But make no mistake, depression and BD are both very real medical conditions whose symptoms can be debilitating to those who suffer from these diseases. In honor of the National Depression Education and Awareness Month, the NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) invites us all to take the pledge to be stigma free, educate ourselves about mental illness and help spread the word to others.

Breaking Traditional Definitions

Stigma, as defined by Merriam Webster, is a “set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something,” and this certainly rings true for depression. For example, if a person has a psychological disorder, they are often labeled as being “nuts” or “crazy” when the facts don’t support this assumption.

Let’s say that someone is depressed over the loss of a loved one, this sadness will usually pass with time, but for those who are diagnosed as being clinically depressed will have symptoms that last for months or years at a time. Although there’s no cure for Bipolar Disorder or clinical depression, there are treatments that help to ease their suffering.

Becoming Stigma Free

Its one thing to take a pledge and it’s another to take action. The NAMI recommends that people not only sign up to be stigma free, but also need to:

 

  • Learn more about mental health
  • Educate yourself and others about psychological disorders
  • See the person behind the illness
  • Strive to listen and understand
  • Tell your own story if you’ve been affected by mental illness

 

When taking action, think about raising awareness, participating in events and spreading the word throughout your community and around the world. Yes, around the world! Hop on social media and your message can easily reach a global audience.

But What Else Can I Do?

Visit the NAMI website, specifically the “get involved / raise awareness / what can you do” page for more information on how you can help:

 

  • Become more informed about the issues, numbers and impact of mental health issues
  • Share online, become part of discussions and participate on social media platforms
  • Wear green, the color used to show your support for mental wellness
  • Host a fundraising event in your community
  • Join a walk near you (visit here to find one in your area)

A movement starts with just one person and gains momentum as it grows. Be a part of that growth and implement change for those who suffer. If you have been diagnosed, help is out there if you just know where to look. NAMI is a good place to start.

 

Author: Mark Kirkpatrick