We Need To Talk About Mental Health

e16dfd31fbf319f64e4441500234874b.jpgBefore I start the article, I wanted to explain what made me choose this particular image. It was the way it made me think about how our society very often only wants to display itself as happy, and we also only want to consume things that make us happy. When we’re out and about, interacting with people, we tend to only want them to see our happy side. There is this certain ‘face’ so to speak. The image reminds me to always remember to be empathetic and understanding. Don’t be afraid to be honest about your feelings when it’s important to. Things are not always what it seems. Someone may appear happy but feel empty inside. We can all learn to understand it, by giving an ear and seeing it from both sides.

I may get a bit personal in this post, but I feel that it’s such an important topic to talk about that I feel very strongly about. I was watching a video, which you can watch here, and the way Dani described depression was very accurate to how I felt back in high school. She also mentioned how mental illnesses are becoming more and more common. We need to question whether it’s because we live in such a fast paced society. In a previous job, I had a breakdown. It was over the phone and I could feel the force of negativity in the conversation quite heavily. I felt upset and could feel the tears on my face and my throat choking up. That memory made me realise how much people simply want you to earn money, and don’t care about your health. In saying that, it’s the harsh reality in most cases.

I want to mention this scenario, because that situation made me instantly feel that I lost my level of professionalism and that I was viewed as a weak person. I feel it is important to mention that I was mainly interacting with all men, and did not feel the need to mention that I have anxiety. In the video, Dani mentions that in Australia, men have the highest rates of suicide. It reminded me of why I didn’t want to tell them what I was going through something, and that it was affecting my work, because of the societal stigma and stereotype that: Mental illnesses are ‘weak’. I can’t express just how untrue that is. I could write about this topic and different scenarios from the past and present for pages, but I will just bring some main points that come to mind.

The problem with society is the constant connection of mental illnesses being connected to words such as: weak, strange, taboo, outsider, abnormal. As someone who is an introvert, a highly sensitive person and lives with anxiety, it’s easy for people to immediately judge who I might be as a person through common stereotypes. It’s this instant judgment and assumption of ones character, which is similar to the way mental illnesses are judged. We need to talk about it, so that we can help people. Silence when there is something important, won’t solve any problems. We can speak up about it. Mental illnesses are so stigmatised that they cause many  people to feel ashamed, embarrassed or isolated. The word ‘mental’ seems to make many people think of the word ‘crazy’ instantly.

The more awareness we have of mental health,  the more people can feel comfortable about speaking up and getting the help they need. From comresglobal.com it says: Women are also over-represented in the statistics on mental health in the UK, with one in four women seeking treatment for depression compared to one in ten men. Unfortunately, this cannot be taken to mean that men on the whole do not suffer much in terms of their mental health: the suicide rate is three times higher among men than it is among women, and it is the most common cause of death among men under the age of 35. As previously mentioned, the stigma around mental illnesses, causes many men to not admit that they have one, which can be dangerous. It is something that is invisible, so easy to hide yet very strongly felt.

Perhaps if we make more awareness of it, we can be more considerate and cater to those in the workplace and in our personal lives. Over working or long hours is also a common cause of having depression or anxiety. Talking about it can also possibly limit the amount of people who may self harm. One in every four people experiences mental health issues. This is far far more apparent than we can see. The more we talk about it, the more we can lessen the tension, stigma and stereotypes, help those in need, encourage people to speak up or seek help and open the truth and the facts about mental illnesses.

image via

6 thoughts on “We Need To Talk About Mental Health

  1. Very sorry to hear that you had a nervous breakdown at one of your previous workplaces. Hope you worked it out after that… A lot of the time it is the things around us that we cannot control that actually stimulates our mind, maybe for better or for worse.

    Sometimes we can’t help the way we feel. It is just human nature and most of us will experience some degrees of hard times in our lives. Agree with you that we should speak up more about mental illness. The more we talk about it, the more we will all realise that it is more common than we think – and mental illness is not weak. It is a state of mind.

    1. Hi Mabel, Thank you for your comment. I learned a lot from that experience, and as you said, it’s often the things we can’t control. Absolutely, and I’m quite an honest person with my feelings, which can sometimes (sadly) be inappropriate in the’adult’ or professional world. It’s important, because it’s extremely common, yet many people feel they need to hide it which can often worsen the situation.

  2. I watched Dani’s video too when it came out, and I feel hers is one of the few that actually addresses the issue really well. It shows that she did her research and thought it through carefully. Depression.. and all other mental illnesses are so complex, and I’m not yet sure how I feel about them being publicized in the media. I mean, I absolutely agree that we need to be more open and talkative about this issue, as holding it within ourselves is only destructive. My issue when celebrities or people in general talk about it is that oftentimes it is portrayed in a glamorized way, which I hate. And because mental illnesses can be so broad in the spectrum and people self-diagnose themselves all the time, I think I have become a bit cynical towards the way they address these issues.
    Like my comment on your plastic surgery post, there’s a double standards on this issue. In America, for instance, there’s a growing number of people who are becoming more open with this issue. They talk about it, go to therapy, and get the treatment that they need. I don’t live in the US, but based on my family/friends, it’s pretty normal for someone to be on medication.
    On the other hand, we see countries like Finland or Sweden – the happiest countries in the world. Yet… I think Finland has the highest suicide rate in the world. Why? When you rationalize it, you come to the conclusion that if you live in an environment where everyone is happy and you feel slightly un-happy, it’s taboo. It’s not the norm. So chances are that you will close yourself (and in the worst case, commit suicide). I’m glad other countries, like the US (for this example), are doing the opposite. But I don’t like how it sometimes creates a ‘sadder’ atmosphere.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I agree, she did explain it very well and I definitely feel that it’s something that needs to be understood/educated, rather than popularlised/glamourised. One of the frustrations I feel, is when people who mention that they haven’t experienced anxiety or depression, but talk about it in a way that makes it seem they know all about it and how it feels. It is important to be empathetic, but it’s easy for those who don’t experience it, to glamorise it (as you mentioned).

      That’s a great example, I find that with Western and Asian society too, in Asia it tends to be less understood and accepted when one talks about mental health. I think the importance is to make people aware that they can seek help and not be afraid to speak up about it with a friend or family member. It’s an invisible feeling, yet it’s extremely common. The huge stigma attached to it, is what stops so many people from seeking help. I hope that if we can talk about mental health in a educational way, people can be more encouraged to not be afraid to seek help.

      1. That’s the key word. “Education”. Just as much as we need to talk about it, we also need to be talking about it in a way that is not misleading. This tends to happen with people who believe they know everything about mental health, like you said, but haven’t actually experienced it themselves. When these people comment… it’s enraging. But there are these kinds of people in literally every topic of discussion, and many times it’s just based on ignorance/disbelief/arrogance. It’s unnerving, and the first step is deefinitely education. It’s wiping out ignorance and the feeling that the topic is ‘taboo’.

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