Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Filling the mental health knowledge gap

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing our society when it comes to mental health matters is a lack of knowledge (also referred to as "awareness"). In Australia we have come a long way in recent years thanks to campaigns being run by governments and not-for-profit organizations such as Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute to raise mental health awareness. But we still have a long way to go.

The stigma associated with mental illness remains a major barrier to people getting the help they need. It is very understandable why someone experiencing trouble doesn't want to seek help. He or she might feel embarrassed or fear being judged by others, or not feel comfortable sharing with healthcare professionals they don't know well, or simply not know where to begin and conclude that it is just too difficult.

A major reason I am motivated to write about this stuff is that I want to help fill people's knowledge/awareness gap. One barrier this blog can overcome is privacy. A person might want to learn more about mental health matters (be it for themself, someone they know or for general knowledge) without having the world know they are doing so. You can read this blog without anyone else having to know, which might be important for at least some who are reading this.

At school I was one of the pesky students who asked a lot of questions. They were usually of the fairly basic "let me get this straight" type. More often than not I sensed others in the class were happy that I had spoken up as it cleared up things for them as well. Accordingly, I will try to speak as simply as I can about mental health matters on this blog because I have found that covering the basics on any important topic is seldom (if ever) a waste of time.

In coming posts I will begin covering some important definitions that I think are good to have clear in one's mind.

Here is one of my all-time favourite music videos. Enjoy!