Updated: Apr 27, 2022
Dear Non Mental Health People,
Hi! Now that I have your attention, I want to start off by saying that you do not exist. Every person on this planet has to consider their mental health as a component of their well-being, including you. For example, just because a person is free of physical injuries and ailments, does not mean that they do not regularly monitor their physical health. We go to the doctor every year to check our overall wellness, monitor any existing conditions, and discuss any issues or concerns that may potentially need further investigation. Our mental and physical health are dynamic aspects of our overall health, and are integral to our functionality and well-being. We typically do not get embarrassed about saying that we went to the doctor for a check-up. We would typically not be ashamed to say, “I broke my arm and I had to go to the hospital.” So, let me ask you this, why would we feel any different about going to a doctor or therapist to get a check-up on our mental health? Why would we feel ashamed, guilty, or embarrassed to say, “I’m not feeling mentally or emotionally well, I need to go see a doctor”?
Why Is Mental Health Not Openly Discussed?
I will tell you why we feel embarrassed and ashamed of talking about our mental health or mental health in general, it is because of stigma. Stigma is defined as, “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person” (Lexico.com). The stigma around mental health tells us that it is bad and wrong for individuals to have challenges to their mental health; that we are weird and unworthy if we do not have perfect mental functioning 100% of the time. People have been called “crazy” and told that they should go to the “the looney bin” if they are unable to cope with all of life’s unpredictable circumstances. Have these terms and phrases ever helped anyone? No, in fact the opposite is true. These terms and phrases were strictly created and used to guilt and humiliate those who are struggling with their mental health; to shame them so much that they fear going to get the help that could benefit them.
Our society is under the impression that “if you cannot see it, it must not exist.” That if you cannot physically see what someone is struggling with, their struggle must not be real. This notion is completely false and is merely another way to ignore the real issues regarding mental health. So many people are struggling in silence because their wounds are invisible to the naked eye. Their wounds are in their minds. If you could always