May is Mental Health Month so this blog entry is to create awareness around Mental Health.
Gone are the days when women are admitted into psychiatric hospitals “because of their nerves”, gone also are the days where men are regarded as the town fool - what these men and women were suffering on a daily basis was so beyond science at that time that society just didn’t know what to do with them. Nowadays, thankfully, there are so many organizations and institutions, clinics, and even school staff who are dedicated to helping people with Mental Health Issues.
Mental Health Issues cover quite a broad spectrum. And from anxieties to schizophrenia, no matter what the person is suffering, it is not up to anyone to decide if what they are going through is ‘nothing’. Each person is different and deals with issues in a different fashion. Taking the bus for some people is actually quite a daunting process. Will the bus arrive on time? Why is it late? Was there an accident? Can I trust the driver? Do I have enough change? Will the conductor have enough change? Will there be a seat available or will I have to stand? Who will I be sitting next to? Will the bus stop at my stop? And for others, they simply hail the bus, smile at the driver while paying and sit down wherever looking out the window with a faint smile on their lips.
What I’m trying to say is that it is not for us to judge someone else’s personal experience. If anything we need to be more open to these issues and accepting of the people who suffer from them. If you work with someone who has a depressive disposition, making the effort to say good morning to them directly could change the course of their whole day, life even perhaps.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness state that 1 out of 5 adults suffers a mental illness throughout the year. So basically this means that you don’t have to be a diagnosed card carrying sick person, you could be just prone to bouts of depression, or anxiety, or even OCD (Obsessive Compulsory Disorder). There are then illnesses that are not diagnosed, or misdiagnosed, in youths who develop into adults with a worse condition: ADHD, Psychosis, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, you name it, the list goes on.
What can we do though to help others and ourselves? First let us not deny that oneself can suffer, or has suffered, from some of these illnesses. Once we accept that we are not untouchable we may become more aware and considerate to those who are suffering at that moment. If you have suffered in the past and have found a way out then you need to share your experience to help others.
Be humorous, try to make people laugh and brighten up their day with silly jokes or anecdotes. Recommend funny movies or comedians.
For others, loneliness is a huge factor so perhaps a pet could help. Have an animal to care for will lighten the load somewhat as the person will be too occupied to dwell on their own darkness. Also, companionship in the form of an animal is very positive. A constant friend without opinions.
Volunteering your time or donating to hotlines can help immensely. These organizations are often started with personal funding and are known to save lives. There could be a local charity you don’t know about or a national one you do know about. You can fundraise for this charity by organizing a bake sale or a large community walk.
Listen to people who seem to be struggling. It may be difficult to withhold your opinions but do try to just listen. Sometimes that is all someone needs. A teenage relative or neighbor, a colleague, friend from the club, or someone you see often on the bus. Today's world is so consumed by competition that we often lose the human touch.
Educate people. Stick posters up in the local school, store, church, and also your place of work. If you are capable organize a talk at the school or community center outlining that those who are suffering are not alone and that there is nothing shameful about seeking help, no matter what their situation is.
We need to create awareness.
We need to make it known that those who suffer from a mental illness are not alone.
We need to ensure the proper structures are in place to help people from a local to a national scale.
We need to Listen, to Console, to Educate.
Please share below different organizations that can help and also tweet and post them