The antiquated philosophy that mankind has held regarding mental health issues throughout nearly our entire existence has been one of scorn, dismissal, and disapproval. Those suffering from mental illness were often regarded as “less than” the general population, and many were ignored entirely even when they were clearly exhibiting major signs of distress. Fortunately, a new generation has begun to focus on mental health issues like never before, and it has led to open conversations on how to address these challenges and provide support to those in need.
The month of May has been designated as, “Mental Health Awareness Month,” to shine a light on those who often feel that they must suffer in silence. It is a time when we can all step back and take stock of our own mental wellbeing and determine what steps we might need to take to improve our own mental health condition. A number of different organizations and issue groups have also supported this month of recognition, including but not limited to:
- The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center
- Health Resource Network
- Men’s Health Network
- National Infertility Association
Taking a New Look at Mental Health
The conversation has shifted on mental health in large part because millions of people are now recognizing how mental health issues have a direct impact on their lives and the lives of those they love. This change is also beginning to be reflected in popular media as well. Health.com recently provided the example of how the NBC show “This Is Us” has finally shown an accurate and relatable portrayal of a character with an anxiety disorder:
At the end of the show’s first season, NBC’s hit drama This Is Us began closing in on Randall’s perfectionist nature and the mounting anxiety it creates. “As a perfectionist, it is true that when you can’t control absolutely everything, it causes anxiety,” Mramor says. Randall’s panic attack during Kevin’s play “is one of the more intense symptoms a person with anxiety can have,” she adds, but it’s effective in showing the overwhelming nature of anxiety.
The episode provided a point of reference and context for those who struggle with anxiety in their daily lives. Viewers could relate to a character who dealt with anxiety in a relatable way– it was an applause-worthy moment and fortunately, one of many plot lines now occurring in popular media.
Some might suggest representation of mental illness such as this this is merely a gimmick to garner larger audiences, but it is really more than that. People with various mental health issues want to be represented on television because it helps to normalize their condition and increases awareness and empathy among the public and their peers.
There Is Still Much Work To Be Done
Our culture of acceptance is moving in the right direction, but there is still much work to be done. Mental health professionals need the support and flexibility to treat many more patients than they are able to, as demand has outpaced supply. Barriers such as administrative tasks and access to care must be addressed so practitioners can spend time with their patients instead of focused on how to keep their businesses running.
Add to that, COVID-19 has increased the need for mental health services tremendously and unfortunately the ripple effect is likely to last for decades according to commonwealthfund.org:
“It is likely that the mental health fallout from the pandemic will continue to grow. The exacerbation of social determinants of health will last for years (and likely decades), which will have long-term implications for mental health. The 1918 flu pandemic led to reduced educational attainment, higher rates of physical disability, and lower income for individuals who were in utero during the pandemic, suggesting there may even be inter–generational effects.”
Therapy Brands’ suite of purpose-built solutions are available for practitioners to be able to manage the ever-changing industry landscape and focus on what matters most. Tools such as integrated telehealth, payment processing, billing support and features such as notes planners— help to streamline business operations, connect patients and providers, save money and ultimately enhance patient experiences and outcomes.
Please contact us for additional information regarding the role that Therapy Brands can play in the mental health services you offer.