Why Is Mental Health Still A Taboo Topic?
2019: the year of the pig, the year in which Tic Tacs turn 50 and 10 years since Avatar first hit our screens. 2019 is also the year in which mental illness still remains hidden away by most. If it is invisible, it doesn’t exist, right? Wrong. Suicide still accounts for the highest number of deaths in the UK for men between the ages of 20-49. More of us are recognising there is a problem, but for most, the problem isn’t enough to cause a major concern. Each time we click on the news and see another death in a celebrity not known to have any health problems, it has become what seems to be normality to assume what the cause has been, especially within males. The truth may be that we ourselves don’t even see we are struggling and if we do, we feel too proud to admit it and for those who do reach out, can often be knocked back or made to feel guilty for reaching out in the first place. Those struggling can often be called an attention seeker for speaking out about their struggles. To me, this seems alien.
Reach Out To Your Loved Ones
Whether we choose to admit it or not, there is still a huge amount of stigma which comes alongside the term ‘mental illness’, most people are then deemed as unfit, unable to cope and some would even go as far as to say they’re insane. Living in the 21st century often feels like there is no escape from people with most of the world connected via a click of a button. We put ourselves online for those to see as this is what we are trained to do, but when something goes wrong, everything can change in an instant and you feel so alone. Long goes the days were to insult someone you had to go find them in person and tell them. The internet allows the world to constantly engulf us and not let us escape. Logging into social media can often feel like quicksand, you take a quick look at suddenly your drowning and can’t get out.
With us all expected to keep within these standards set out by society about how we should live, act and be as people, no wonder we fall below par. We are often made to feel like our illnesses aren’t important and that we could have it worse. I mean if you can’t see it, that means it’s not real? We as people need to do better, we need to start understanding it is real and a lot of us do suffer. If we are struggling at work, we need to be able to take the steps like any other illness to say you need some time off. With mental health problems contributing to 12.7% of illness in the workplace, we need to get better at figuring out how to deal with it. We need to be able to discuss medication and take the steps to be able to get medication for our conditions. We need to be able to go to our GP and ask for help without the fear of it being on our record and others seeing it.
Too many people are afraid to reach out and we really don’t know what is going on in someone’s head without them telling us. We can pick up the warning signs but when somebody doesn’t want to talk about the way they’re feeling, they won’t. We need to start opening up the conversation, we need to ask each other more, are you ok? Then we need to believe it is ok to say no and tell others how we are feeling. As too many of us say I’m good, I’m fine, I’m great but how many of us are really telling the truth. With the fear of rejection from the people, we are reaching out to, a lot of people sugar coat their feelings. After all, what upsets one person might seem stupid to another.
Let’s Be Better Together
We all promise to do better every time we click on the news and see another tragedy in front of our eyes. How many of us actually take the time to do better? This is a vicious cycle and nothing ever changes. If we all made an attempt to reach out more, this world would be a better place. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate but those around us do. With the right support and in some cases medication our conditions can be managed. This doesn’t mean we are going to be OK 100% of the time, but it is a start. Having that safety net around you when you feel like you’re falling is one of the best feelings.
Knowing you’ll be able to pick yourself back up and carry on is an amazing sense of determination which some of us are able to feel. For those who don’t have that, the fear of falling never actually disappears. Our brains are our biggest critic and we already have that between our ears without needing to hear the negative comments of others, for most there isn’t really anything you can say that they don’t already feel about themselves. Using services such as Supportline can help with building up your confidence. One day I hope to see change; but for the future, I’m not too sure how likely any sort of big change is.
Reach out to your loved ones, send them a message, go see them. Keep people close and make everyone aware, you can ask for help and it doesn’t make you any less of a strong person. We all have our issues and shouldn’t be judged for them, no matter who we are. How much money we have or what our social status is, we all function the same way and we sometimes just need a little love and an ear willing to listen to us. You can be the change, we don’t need to wait until another person decides to end their life, we need to act fast and begin working towards the change.