In recent years, the concept of mental health has gained traction, helping to reduce the stigma. As Canada observes Mental Health Awareness Week, I want to contribute to the conversation by considering why awareness is so important. After all, what does awareness get us? Does simply having everyone aware of something solve real problems? I want to address the “so what” question, when it comes to mental health awareness.
So what is awareness good for? Think of the days before we were aware of things like anxiety, depression, OCD, BPD, Schizophrenia, addiction, and PTSD. It’s not that these problems didn’t exist; we just didn’t have insight into why people were engaging in apparently self-destructive or anti-social behaviors, nor did we have the language to talk about it. Rather than viewing them as suffering from an illness, we attributed their behavior to either moral failings or insanity.
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