Two problems identified in raising mental awareness is funding and stigma/discrimination.
Possible solutions to funding mental awareness programs:
- Having fund raisers
- Have big name stars participate in fund raisers
- Work on government funding
- Have groups think outside the box
- Get big corporations to become involved
The solutions named above have pros and cons. In order to have fund raisers, there
needs to be a dedicated person willing to give up their time to basically organize by making hundreds of phone calls, putting together a venue, a group of people willing to volunteer their time, organize tickets, advertising, be responsible for the funds collected, and having the ability to pull the entire event off within the laws of the government and state they are conducting the fund raisers. On the other hand, having fund raisers allows money to be generated and donated to raising mental awareness which in turn gives people the opportunity to recognize, understand, and benefit from information regarding mental illnesses. “Mental health awareness campaigns have yielded positive outcomes” (Srivastava, Chatterjee, & Bhat, 2016, p. 131). Bringing awareness enables families, friends, and communities to have important information that will help others and themselves.
Government funding would again take lots of work. Someone would need to campaign at the local levels to raise awareness and gain support. Barring all obstacles, petitions would need to be signed, political support would need to be gathered and all the right channels would need to be followed. This would be a time consuming and long road. If the government agreed to fund raising awareness of mental illness, information would be available to a greater area of people. “Evidence is emerging to support the belief that poverty and mental illness in developing countries are linked in such a way that when one increases, the other usually increases” (Patterson, Edwards, & Vakili, 2018, p. 72). It is imperative that mental health awareness is provided to everyone, even in remote areas.
Possible solutions to extinguishing stigma/discrimination:
- Trained speakers
- Workplace trainings
- Education in schools
- Support groups
The above solutions can assist in raising awareness of mental illnesses and removing the stigma/discrimination that is associated with the subject. Fear of the unknown can lead someone to hide from the world. Conducting meetings with trained speakers would be a solution to raising awareness of mental illness. It would take people that are dedicated, passionate, and be educated in the field, but able to speak in terms everyone can understand. The speakers would need to be culturally diverse so as not to offend anyone. To be effective, the speakers would need to go to all parts of the world in order to raise awareness of mental illness in every country. This would take money and time.
Workshops are another solution to the problem of raising mental illness awareness. A booth could be set up in local health fairs, community events, and even at colleges on opening day. It would enable people to stop by without feeling uncomfortable and request information. This would take a group of people that are willing to go out to different venues and provide information on mental illnesses. They would need to be trained in the field but can meet and greet all types of people. In a study conducted by Jorm, Sawyer, and Gillett (2019) in Australia, workshops to raise awareness of mental illness were successful in getting the information out to the public. The more a subject is put in the open, the less stigma/discrimination is associated with it.
Jorm, A., Sawyer, M., & Gillett, J. (2012). Australian Rotary Health: a major contributor to mental awareness in Australia. Australasian Psychiatry, 20(4), 319-321. doi:10.1177/1039856212447968
Patterson, J. E., Edwards, T., & Vakili, S. (2018). Global Mental Health: A Call for Increased Awareness and Action for Family Therapists. Family Process, 57, 70–82. doi:10.1111/famp.12281
Srivastava, K., Chatterjee, K., & Bhat, P. S. (2016). Mental health awareness: The Indian scenario. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 25, 131-134.