Our understanding of mental health is always changing. With every passing year, it feels like everyone is starting to get more of a handle on just what that phrase means, how many different conditions there are, and how many of us suffer from these issues. But over the past couple of years, it feels as though there have been some drastic changes in our understanding. It now longer feels like there are advances being made every year. It feels like every week brings greater awareness and empathy.
Part of this is obviously due to what everyone went through back in 2020. But there have also been huge advances made in making mental health support more accessible, as digital innovations have brought different kinds of treatment to people who may not have been able to access it previously. There have been more studies about how different parts of our bodies and our behaviors work in tandem with our mental health. Let’s break down some of the biggest ways that our understanding of mental health is changing.
People Are More Accepting
One of the biggest and most important ways that our understanding of mental health is changing is that people all over the world are starting to become more accepting. Everyone out there has had to support a friend or family member through mental health issues, whether that is anxiety, depression, grief-related trauma, or something else. What is arguably a bigger change, however, is that more and more people are starting to recognize their own mental health issues and accept that they are something that could benefit from treatment and attention. For example, take all the stories that we saw about anxiety and depression. People are looking for ways that they can tackle these issues practically and they are looking for treatment. Going to see a therapist is no longer a sign that you are somehow broken. It is a sign that you are working on yourself.
Treatments Are Changing
One of the biggest things keeping people away from accessing mental health support is the idea that they will be treated as if there is something fundamentally wrong, and that they will be given strong medication. However, in recent years we are starting to see more and more positive treatments for mental health issues that do not come in a small bottle. Our understanding of how many different physical health issues can have an impact on our mental health means that scientists and doctors have been able to find new and innovative ways to improve our health. Some of the most exciting changes spring from how we treat our own bodies.
For example, you may have heard of vagus nerve tapping, but recent studies have shown that there are ways that the vagus nerve can be stimulated without tapping. Gut health has been shown to have a huge impact on mental health, and a healthier gut can help to keep the vagus nerve healthy. If you want to learn more about how gut health and mental health are related, visit Dr. Ruscio’s website. He has a wide range of resources to help you understand this fascinating area.
Mental Health Is More Accessible
One of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to mental health is that there has been a huge disparity in accessibility. It is no secret that healthcare is hugely expensive for anyone who is not insured. Therapy has traditionally been seen as a luxury for a lot of people, which means that a lot of the people who need help the most have not been able to access it. There is still a long way to go, but we are starting to see some changes. For example, one of the biggest advances has been the introduction of virtual therapy sessions. These have made a huge difference to a lot of people by removing the need to leave home and pay for transport, not to mention those people who find that leaving the house is difficult.
Employers Are Understanding More
Over the last couple of years, we have heard a huge number of stories about employee burnout. It is hardly surprising given that so many people out there were trying to juggle a lot of different responsibilities with suddenly working from home, not to mention the usual pressures of maintaining a work life balance. The good news is that it finally seems that employers are starting to pay attention and are looking for ways that they can improve things. For example, more and more companies are starting to offer mental health support as part of their employee benefits packages. Businesses are making the effort to be more flexible when it comes to working hours to ensure that employees can more effectively juggle their responsibilities. There are still a lot of companies out there that expect employees to respond to messages outside of work hours, but we are heading in the right direction.
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