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Is there a mental illness epidemic on the rise, or have we simply gotten better (or sloppier?) when it comes to diagnosing mental health problems? Whatever the case, one thing is clear: the number of people suffering from mental health problems seems to rise every year, in amounts disproportionate to a number of people entering the population! So we have a very serious problem on our hands. Here’s how you can be a hero and help those in need.

Social work and volunteering

It’s probably a bit of an understatement to say that living with a mental health problem is difficult. A lot of people get by, but there are many who have a really tough time on a day-to-day basis, and so need frequent help at home. There are plenty of institutions out there who looking for paid and volunteer workers to help mentally ill people in the comfort of their own homes.

Counseling

How do I become a therapist? However you go about it, it’s going to be a longer and more complex route than any of the others on this list. But there’s also a chance you can do the most good in this field by getting a job in counseling. It requires a lot of you in terms of academic time and degrees, but it’s an essential part of the sectors that help mental health in any country. It also pays very well, so there’s that to consider, too!  

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Emergency response

In other medical fields, “emergency response” tends to bring about images of on-the-scene care. This isn’t quite the same thing. Those working in emergency response tend to work for mental health hotlines, and they need to be pretty tough and quick-minded. You’ll receive calls from very distressed people who need help calming down, often in order to prevent some sort of crisis. It’s demanding work, often distressing in itself, but you can get training and support for such a pursuit.

Opening up

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is be honest about your own feelings. When celebrities open up about their mental health problems, they’re not only praised for bravery in discussing something that still has somewhat of a stigma attached to it; they’re praised because it helps others open up about their own problems. It prompts deep thought about who can be affected and what we can do to help. Kanye West’s troubles last year and earlier this year certainly helped people think a bit deeper about both the issue of mental health and their opinion of West himself. By opening up about your own problems, you can help others feel less alone.     

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Being vigilant

Are there always warning signs when someone has mental health problems? Not always, and the signs that are there aren’t always that clear. But if you notice anything amiss with a friend or family member, try talking to them about it. Outside of this, vigilance can be practiced elsewhere. You’ve probably seen instances of online bullying in your time. Consider calling out those bullies and lending a supporting message to the targets of such behavior - it can help more than you might think.