Diagnosis & Treatment, or understanding & acceptance.
This week seems to be all about mental health, especially how the Government and the NHS approach it. It’s great to have the profile raised, but again it seems to be pointing out the stigma attached to it and not really helping tackle how to reduce this. Sadly I suspect this will just continue stigma and misunderstanding in the populous at large.
The approach that seems to be constantly missed is how, like with physical health everyone at some point in their life has an ailment of a greater or lesser magnitude, this is true with mental health. As a species, not just a nation we need to get much better at acknowledging that we all go through periods of our life, where we don’t feel great. That not feeling great is a dip in mental health. Perhaps akin to getting a cold, it doesn’t last for too long, but it does slow us down and makes us feel low.
Much of our media coverage seems to focus on the very debilitating mental health issues, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar, deep depression and severe anxiety. It seems to be avoiding telling the population that every time we feel low or a bit worried that is our mind and our mental health. If we could come to understand this as a collective I believe it would start to break down the barriers and stigma currently in our world.
We are able to see physical health in degrees, Cold, Broken leg, Heart attack & Stroke, but we don’t seem to recgognise mental health in the same way. Why can’t we see the progression of sad, worried, anxious toward paranoid, mistrusting, to times when we feel very low and then try to combat that feeling with attempting acts that make us feel really high (Bi-Polar). There are a whole wealth of mental health diagnosises that if the correct questions are asked and time spent with the person experiencing the upset to their lives that they can be worked with in a gentler fashion to assist that person to regain a feeling of control and contentment in their life.
There will always be some cases of mental health that need more medical interventions, in the same way there is with physical health. But that seems to be getting lost in translation, that all mental health concerns need medical intervention. When we stop trying to do this, and acknowledge that talking openly about some of the things that affect us with those we trust, the stigma of mental health will start to melt away.
We’ll all come to realise we all have mental health concerns from time to time…