How often do you hear people discussing their last visit to the therapist or psychiatrist? Would your friends feel comfortable telling you if they were taking an anti-depressant? If a friend of yours spent last night in the ER because they were feeling suicidal and a loved one caught on, would they tell you? What if your parent was diagnosed with a mental illness and was struggling greatly, would you feel comfortable enough to ask friends and family members for help and support?
For most people, the answers to these questions involves a feeling of awkwardness, a desire to avoid the topic, a part of them might feel shameful or embarrassed when confronted with these issues. Is that you?
Are you afraid to tell your friends or coworkers that you have sought help in the past for a mental health issue? Are you be embarrassed among your colleagues to state that you work in a psychiatric hospital, for fear that they will make jokes or not take your work seriously? If so, why?
All of this is because there is a stigma around the mental health community and mental health issues, no surprise there, right? You’ve certainly heard the jokes before.
So often we do not become sensitive to issues until we have experienced them first hand. So often an issue doesn’t matter until it “hits home”. There are so many causes that deserve attention and I believe this is one of them. The stigma around the mental health community and those who suffer from mental illness should be tolerated no longer. It is too risky. What is at stake? Life.
I listened to a fabulous interview today done by Tony Serve, journalist, broadcaster, and educator based in Perth, Western Australia, that eloquently exposes this topic and the shame surrounding this stigma. Please take the time to listen to this interview as Tony interviews Dr. Alun Jones (Wales), as he explains recent studies and the need to address this issue. Mr. Serve and Dr. Jones conduct this interview in both a professional and sensitive manner that deserves recognition and commendation.
As the forementioned point out, mental health is not just about something “mental”, it affects our whole health, and our whole community, local and global.
You can access the interview and more of Tony Serve’s work at http://www.tonyserve.wordpress.com.