Every year when 10th October comes around, Social Media is abuzz with conversations about Mental Health with hashtags trending, influencers putting out messages, survey releases and a lot of events all over the world. Unfortunately when the day comes to an end, so does the buzz around Mental Health.
What we need to realise is that Mental Health needs to be spoken about everyday, because those who are struggling don’t have their struggles limited to 1 day so neither should these important conversations be limited to one day. We need to continue the efforts even after the day is over. There’s somethings we ought we remember to talk about even after the day is over and some of them will be summarised in this post.
Saying things like ‘Its ok to not be ok’ or ‘Reach out’ are great, but we need to realise that sometimes the person who is going through the distress may not be in a position to do that. For them their anguish is so consuming that they cannot often see hope beyond it. During this time it is important that we have more of the general population trained in Mental Health so that they are aware of the signs of Mental Health distress and can reach out to individuals they may be worried about. In addition to this, for individuals to reach out and seek help, we need to ensure there are quality care services available which are both accessible and affordable so anyone who needs help can get it when they need it. At present there is a major Care Gap existing in the field of Mental Health which needs to be bridged with better investment into improved facilities, in patient care and support for helplines and charities.
We need to speak out against misinformation and stereotypes. Very often we see information on Mental Health being shared on Social Media which is so far from the truth. It is important to call out these comments no matter who makes them. We cannot sit back and take the approach of ‘not my circus, not my monkeys’ because misinformation about Mental health not only damages the cause and adds to the stigma but can also push those who are struggling further into their shell. We need to call out anyone who peddles such misinformation because we also never know who is reading through it and looking for that one ray of hope.
We need to build our own awareness of Mental Health. There are a lot of programs and resources available which we can look into and build our own knowledge of Mental Health so that we can not only recognise the signs of distress but also be in a position to signpost someone who needs help. It is important to know that we don’t have to be professionals to recognise the signs and have a empathetic, non-judgemental conversation with someone who we are concerned about. We all have the power to change and save lives. Building awareness can also help to end the stigma around Mental Health.
Lastly, we need to strive to keep the conversations around Mental Health going. Talk about it, post about it, do something about it. We need to be better at checking in on people we care about more often rather than once in a year when it is trending, otherwise we too are part of a hollow gang who jumps on the bandwagon of a trending hashtag on social media. Keep talking about, Mental Health matters everyday and needs those conversations to be raised and made more mainstream. The stigma remains deeply entrenched in the fabric of society and it is our responsibility to try end that and make the world a more compassionate and Mental Health friendly place. Together, through awareness, through education, through having simple conversations and through the open minds of the current and next generations, the stigma of mental health issues will be a thing of the past. It is time to start having these conversations, at work, at school, with friends and family, because mental health, for so long an elephant in the room, is now something we should acknowledge and be talking about.
Let’s understand that Mental Health doesn’t rest or take a break.
There are almost a billion people worldwide living with a diagnosed Mental health condition who need our acceptance, understanding and empathy.
Living with a Mental Health condition is a challenge 365 days a year and we need to give it the importance it deserves beyond 10th October.
Everyday is Mental Health Day!
Written by: Yash Mehrotra
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