Are you one of the 1 in 4?

Mental Health… Such a hype word or expression, isn’t it?

Well, in a way I’m glad it is being used by the media and even in my friend circle and so on more frequently than ever, but it still scares me how ignorant some people are on this subject. And I don’t mean the genuine ignorance where someone just didn’t have a chance to experience or come close to someone who suffers from mental health issues. I mean the loud and arrogant type, the ‘know-it-all’ type who belittles everyone who is too soft or sensitive and cannot pull themselves together. I can understand how difficult it is for an ‘outsider’ to try to fully understand the severity of some of the cases but it really gets to me when they clearly don’t have an idea of what they are talking about, what damage they can cause even with a few words, not to mention any other, a lot more serious consequences. It actually makes my blood boil!

So, while these kinds of inconsiderate people make me angry (sorry, just cannot put it any other way) over the years it also made me stronger in my belief and reinforced my conviction that something has to be done to stop this! Ok, let’s not be unrealistic, let’s do this step by step, and I’ll be happy with just raising awareness to such level where people feel ‘comfortable’ to talk about their health issues (and I mainly refer to mental health issues here) not only with medical health professionals but also with their family, friends and acquaintances. I’ll go a step further and wish this to be part of the conversation at work, without the fear of ridiculing and judging anyone. Once there is awareness, we are clearly identifying the issues, calling them by their names, and can talk about them realistically and in factual terms, rather than hiding them in the metaphorical closet. This is the way to go forward! There is no other way around it! Bottling up things won’t help anyone.

So what is about this macho society, where anyone who puts up their hand expressing their concerns and confusion over their proportionately negative thoughts, is being either ridiculed or ignored. I always wondered why common sense wouldn’t make it to some people’s clearly flawed attention. How could such a simple idea or rather fact miss their attention, namely, that prevention is always better, not to mention cheaper than curing an illness that is far too developed to cure effectively. Oh, and it can save lives…

But of course, I can still hear some sneering comments about that all this is a non-sense and there is no such thing as depression, and the likes. I was wondering (yet again) whether they considered why medial health professionals are training in this area, whether they read any decent and reliable medical studies and researches. The answer I’m guessing is probably no.

Don’t let this happen! I don’t want my child and anyone else’s child to grow up into a society where being different is a bad and shameful thing. Because that is what it is. Some of us are, for one reason or other, less able to deal with mental hardship at certain times in our lives, while others are incredibly strong. So they say. MIND, a renowned and well-respected mental health charity, it is estimated that 25% of UK’s population is affected by mental health issues. 25%! That’s 1 in every 4 people. Think about that when you sit on the crowded bus or tube. I guess you’d feel a lot better knowing that potentially a quarter of the tube carriage is in the same shoes as you are or one of your loved ones.

Please remember this, and consider how a little kindness for a mentally struggling person can go a long way. You never know, just when they need it most. As most probably they won’t ask for it… Be kind and let’s join on a journey together to reduce the stigma and create a considerate society for all of us!

Viktoria Balogh