Thursday, 1 February 2018

Stigma & Mental Health

To successfully remove stigma around Mental Health, those who consider themselves as having a healthy Mental Health also need to be honest about their fears of people with such issues. It is necessary that they too talk openly, and in good faith (kindly) about what they find mysterious and/or concerning.

Of course, all Mental Health is different and descriptions vary, but here, I just want to emphasise that in each case, the investigative work done by those wishing to help others with Mental Health issues must also involve self-reflection/awareness about their own prejudices, fears and judgements. Such unchecked elements could halt any such progress.

For example - in my life I have behaved in some contradictory ways. Some of these contradictions come from hypocrisy (e.g., when I have an unconfirmed stance on a topic) and at other times, from growth and changing my mind on/of something.

But also, crucially at other times, it is my Mental Health that has completely changed my disposition. The way I would behave if I was feeling well is impossible and inconceivable sometimes in the times when I am suffering an altered state because of poor Mental Health.

You may meet me in a confident state, and I might be gregarious and seemingly not bothered by a lively room of people. You may meet me when I find it hard to lift my hand to shake yours, and barely find monosyllabic words. Both behaviours are true. Both behaviours I have to own. I can understand if someone sees these different positions might produce concern in the mind of those I meet, often because it is received personally. However, in fact, my disposition is these cases has exponentially more to do with what is inside my mind. Of course, this behaviour can seem similar to that of chosen dismissal to the other person, and therein lies the root of stigma, and our challenge to overcome. 

[2018.02.01] Chelsea Hare

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