Awareness of Mental Health

Geraldine Idoniboye MD writes that mental health awareness may be inhibited or stifled in certain areas, due to lack of knowledge about mental illness and how to help people living with, or affected by, mental illness.

Over the past several years, I have come to realize that my usual ways of maintaining balance in my life, meeting my personal and professional goals, have a certain vulnerability.

Where the experience of failure, real or imagined, can motivate one person to learn, change and present as resilient: another person may be overwhelmed and present with pathologic thinking, feeling and behavior.

To give one example, the Covid pandemic presented challenges to all, irrespective of race, gender, religion or other things that people used to identify themselves- we are all vulnerable to the invisible enemy of Covid. Everyone who was able to think clearly had awareness that people could die from Covid infection.

There was an international movement to solve the problem. Nations, communities and families allied and there are now guidelines to prevent and treat Covid infection. Covid infection can be treated and the risk factors reduced. However, why do other threats to human well being – mental illness and poverty – to name a few, remain? Is this due to collective consciousness or lack of awareness of solutions or absolute fear that, when it comes to mental illness “we really cannot do anything about that problem” or “it’s too big of an issue”.


Durkheim defined Collective Consciousness as “the totality of beliefs and sentiments common to average citizens of the same society”, which shapes the individual’s condition within a society/ group and influences how the individual perceives self within that group or society.

Personally, I think that several places/ situations I have experienced have influenced my feelings and behavior.

For example, I attended a boarding school in my early years. The norms and values that I was taught in boarding school, such as keeping a schedule of activities, which includes meditation and prayer, have remained with me.  While reminiscing with longtime friends, we discuss the old and new ways of living; across generations and continents. So, every day I express my gratitude that I continue the journey of living with support.


The norms and values that I was taught in boarding school, such as keeping a schedule of activities, which includes meditation and prayer, have remained with me. Click To Tweet


Mental health awareness may be inhibited or stifled in certain areas, due to lack of knowledge about mental illness and how to help people living with or affected by mental illness.

I want to use the example of how media presents situations where a notable person has a negative outcome to personal or professional  challenges. Often people will react by using social media posts. What more could have been done or what could have been done differently to prevent an individual’s expressed emotional distress? Who should be responsible to ensure the person is supported especially after life changing events such as natural disaster, death of a loved one or divorce?

For those who have doubts, mental illness can be treated and risk factors reduced.




NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

WEBSITE https://nami.org/Home


NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH: Sign up to receive updates about Mental Disorders

WEBSITE https://www.nimh.nih.gov/


NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: We can all help prevent suicide

WEBSITE  https://988lifeline.org/

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now: 988

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.


CRISIS TEXT LINE: To bring them “from a hot moment to a cool calm”

The Text Line is a global not-for-profit organization providing free mental health texting service through confidential crisis intervention via SMS message. The organization’s services are available 24 hours a day, every day, throughout the United States, Canada, UK, and Ireland

WEBSITE https://www.crisistextline.org/

Crisis Text Line is 741741

The Text Line provides 24/7, free and confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they

Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor


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