Being Vocal for Mental Health

05/29/2015 05:46 pm ET | Updated May 29, 2016

What does it mean to be "aware" of mental health though? Of what should we be aware?

Here are a couple of thoughts:

· We all need to be aware of mental health

Just like with physical problems, mental health problems and the complaints associated can affect people regardless of age and range in severity. There are mild stomach aches or bruises that go away by themselves or with simple care. Same is true of emotional or mental health problems. There can be a range of anxiety, depressed mood, behavior or thinking difficulties that might get better on their own over time and some might need professional help.

Just like with physical complaints, if the emotional or thinking problems are severe, last a while, interfere with your functioning or put someone in danger, they need to be treated by a professional.

Mental health problems, just like physical problems, are pretty common. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 1 in 5 people in the US has a diagnosable mental health problem. This should not surprise us. How many people in the last year had a medical illness of some kind?

· We need to be aware of our own mental health

If you or someone you are close to you is having a problem, it is important to get educated about mental health and about emotional life in general. We need to learn about what kinds of treatment are helpful for what types of problems. You can find a lot about this online but make sure you are using reliable websites from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) or major mental health organizations.

· We need to be aware of the importance of advocating and communicating with our supporters and clinicians

If you need care, it is important you let your therapist/provider/clinician know about what you are experiencing. Therapists can only help if you keep them informed. Therapists and doctors cannot read your mind. This is especially important if you are taking medication for your problem.

· We need to make our communities aware

Many communities lack resources, programs and facilities to support the mental health needs of their citizens. It is important we all speak up about the importance of caring for our, our family's and our friend's mental health. We cannot have healthy communities without education and services to support the mental health needs of everyone.

To help raise awareness around these concerns, Demi Lovato, is working with several leading mental health organizations (The JED Foundation, Depression Bipolar Support Alliance, Mental Health America, NAMI, the National Council for Behavioral Health) and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. to increase awareness. The Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health initiative launched on May 28th. See Demi Lovato and JED's founders, Donna & Phil Satow and Executive Director/CEO, John MacPhee on HuffPost LIVE at 11am on 5/28 here:

Let's all work to Be Vocal to raise awareness about mental health!

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