I think talking about mental health is one of the hardest things for people to talk about but it’s also one of the most important things for people to talk about for this reason. For people who don’t suffer from mental health issues it can be hard to talk about because you haven’t experienced it so in some ways cannot relate to it or you are afraid of offending someone who is a sufferer. For those who do suffer with mental health issues it can be hard to talk about for so many different reasons, one of these reasons being that people don’t understand various mental health issues.
Everyone is different and everyone see’s and perceives things differently and this is the case whether you have mental health issues or not. It’s just that people who have mental health issues see or cope with things differently than what is considered ‘normal’ and because something is not normal, non-sufferers find it a hard concept to accept. However, just because the symptoms are not physical and person is not in pain and we find it hard to comprehend that these people are genuinely suffering, it does not mean that we cannot try to understand and sympathise with them. And while someone with mental health issues probably won’t want your sympathy and will just want understanding, acceptance, and help, I think non-suffers sympathising with mental health suffers is the first step to achieving this.
However, I do think that attitudes towards mental health are changing and while I do accept a lot of work still needs to be done, I still think that within the past 10 years a lot of positive things have happened surrounding mental health. If you were to ask me 10 years ago as a 10-year-old girl what I thought of people who committed suicide then being honest with you I would have probably said that those people are self-fish and cowards. However, fast-forward 10 years later and views couldn’t have changed more, especially having lost someone this way a couple of years ago. My views have not changed because of losing this individual, my views were different before then but since this I have definitely gained more knowledge about mental health as oppose to before when I simple had an understanding. The difference is that I now know more about mental health issues and feel that I should be speaking about it and not just sitting in silence because silence is a killer.
While it is a positive thing that my attitudes have changed, what about the rest of the world? I sent out a Facebook post asking people what they’re thoughts of mental health issues was 10 years ago as oppose to now and I’m glad to say that everyone was very honest with me. Whether these people were 6 or 60, 10 years ago they’re thoughts on mental health were predominantly negative with people saying that people were just wanting attention or kicking up a fuss over nothing or people who committed suicide were selfish and taking the easy way out. But now people’s views have changed with them saying that these issues can no longer be ignored and that with the awareness of these subjects that there is now its allowed people to accept and understand mental health like they never did before.
Talking about mental health is so important as without people talking about these issues then people’s views won’t change. This topic shouldn’t be feared it should be embraced. We accept people of all shapes, sizes, genders, ethnicities, and disabilities, why not those with mental health, why as society should we reject them? There’s no reason why these people should be thought of as ‘strange’ or ‘abnormal’ and I do believe that at some point, as a society we will reach a point where mental health issues are ‘normalised’ and that these people can speak about their issues without stigma and get the help they need without shame.
However, there is still work to be done before this can be achieved and with it being #mentalhealthawarenessweek it’s hard to avoid the conversation. There have been so many posts from people who suffer from mental health who have shared their experience and have shared their knowledge on a specific mental health area and a lot has also focused on receiving help and recovering from mental illnesses. Unlike the common cold, there is no ‘cure’ for people, there are things that allow them to cope and get better but never be completely ‘cured’ and I think this post helps explain it the best:
Healing is a process and everyone has their own thing that they suffer with, mental health wise or not, this does not define you, it is a part of you but it definitely does not define you. Some people learn to live without a limb, some people learn to live with a begin tumour, some people learn to live with autism or dyslexia and some learn to live with anxiety or depression. Take control of whatever it is that affects you, the hardest thing is starting your journey, especially if you feel so completely lost but you aren’t alone. If you walk down the street, you couldn’t see how my dyslexia affects me and you couldn’t see how being gay may affect someone’s relationship with their family. Once you start you’d wish and wonder why you didn’t start earlier. It only takes 10 seconds of courage to do. Others have managed to turn their life around and become proud of what they have managed to achieve, you are worth being proud of and worth being happy, so go and make yourself proud today. You can achieve whatever you want now that you know it’s not impossible.
Big hugs and kisses from,