Many people have a view and react toward mental health issues backwardly. On several occasions, I have discussed this topic with friends. First, it irritates me when I listen to phrases they use in reference to people with mental health. For example, lazy, to refer to someone that has depression; or crazy to someone with low self-esteem. These comments mostly come from a woman friend toward another woman.
Second, if we know of someone attending sessions with a psychologist, we assume that their life is at the edge of a cliff, or is that they have a terrible life. I have learned that our ignorance and misunderstanding are likely the reasons for our misconception of what is mental health concept.
Unfortunately, people with mental health conditions regularly experience violations of human rights, discrimination, and stigma. This is what my friends do.
So how do we define mental health? The American Psychiatric Association states that “mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behaviour (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities”. Mental health conditions include mental, neurological and substance use disorders, suicide risk and associated psychosocial, cognitive and intellectual disabilities.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide mortality is high (close to 800 000 deaths per year), disproportionately affecting young people and elderly women in low- and middle-income countries.
I ask myself over and over, do my friends realize or know that someone with mental health can be on this list of suicides per year? When I was depressed, I never thought of suicide, but I didn’t eat and sleep for many days. In addition, I did not have the energy to do anything.
I had mental health issues years ago, but was lucky that it did not go into a deeper problem. One of the main reasons for this is because I had a lot of support from my family members and friends. Thanks to all. The second reason is that I didn’t care what people thought about me. And lastly, I realized that my well-being was my priority.
I know it’s not easy to understand someone that has mental health issues, however; from my experience, if you have not lived it or have someone close to you with these issues, then I recommend you to please:
– Start with yourself, the discussion and questions about the problem.
-Don’t be reactive, instead be proactive.
-Read about health awareness to increase understanding and reduce stigma and labels.
– Ask the person you want to help about his/her situation don’t gossip about it.
Today as we celebrate World Health Day, let us remember that we are human beings, therefore; we all can have mental health issues, so let’s TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES.