Physical health problems, such as cancer, diabetes, and other heart diseases, there is a vast knowledge of preventions and early intervention. People are fully aware of the cures, medications, and treatments available for so. For example, in the area of cardiovascular disease, there is widespread knowledge about modifiable risk factors like smoking and exercise, people know the value of screening and treatment for hypertension and high cholesterol, many people have the first aid skills to apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation in an emergency, and some would know the warning signs of a stroke and the need to call an ambulance immediately.
But as far as mental health is concerned, the knowledge in the public has generally lagged behind the major physical diseases despite their high prevalence. Surveys of the many countries showed the lifetime prevalence rates of 18 % to 36 % (Kessler et al., 2009). Every year, millions of people are diagnosed with various mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, etc. Mental illnesses affect about 20% of the adult population, 45% of teenagers and 15% of children each year. This high prevalence means that either the person is affected by a mental disorder or has close contact with other people who are. Despite the high exposure to mental disorders in the population, unfortunately, the stigma and misunderstanding associated with mental illness are also widespread. Only half of those who are affected with such condition receive treatment. The untreated ones become prone to other health issues contributing higher medical expenses, poorer performance in their respective fields, fewer opportunities and increased risk of suicide.
Although this perception of mental illness has improved over the past decades, studies show that stigma against mental illness is still powerful. Due to the current rates of occurrence, it has become necessary that everyone should be well aware of the conditions and symptoms and must be skilled to take action to improve community mental health. The community must be educated to fight stigma and provide support.