How aware are you?
Today I am describing four different types of awareness and how each of them has a bearing on our Mental Health (MH). For the purpose of this post I am calling them:
1. Society Awareness.
2. Group Awareness.
3. People Awareness
4. Self Awareness.
There is no doubt that public awareness of MH problems has increased in recent years. There is greater public discussion in a whole range of media formats. This is good and has reduced the stigma attached to MH.
According to a recent newspaper report MH now accounts for 28 per cent of the burden of disease in the UK. However MH services only receive 18 per cent of health spending. Thus an apparent under-funding.
The raising of public awareness leads more people to seek treatment (Has this led to an increase in Moodscope membership?). If this demand cannot be met it will lead to disillusionment among the people seeking treatment. So in addition to raising MH awareness we need to increase the resources for treating it.
Can you think of a group of like minded individuals who can daily communicate on line about MH issues? No need to put answers on this Blog!
Connecting with people having similar interests to your own is extremely good for the MH of everyone who is a member of a group. It raises their awareness of the groups purpose. To share experiences makes you feel you are not alone. In health matters, awareness of how others manage similar conditions is always really useful.
In our relationships with other people we need awareness of their feelings, concerns and attitudes. It helps us to understand them and engage with them in a positive way. It also encourages them to reciprocate with empathy.
Much has been researched on empathy. It is linked to emotional intelligence and it varies from person to person.
We need to really listen to others and be inquisitive about their life. This will improve their MH. A good trained counselling therapist demonstrates these traits.
Self awareness is a complex subject because it involves looking objectively at all aspects of yourself. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses and there is a danger your “self critic” will lead you to place too much emphasis on the weaknesses.
From my brief review of the research it would seem a useful exercise but it may be wise to seek professional support such as a therapist. It needs to be approached with a good helping of self compassion and self care.
Greater self awareness may lead to some interesting self discoveries. For example, I have recently realised that all my ill health symptoms should not be attributed to my MH.
Do you think greater awareness could benefit you?
A Moodscope member.