Why Don't We Talk About Mental Health?
Why does our society place more importance on the physical than the mental aspects of our lives? We teach our children how to care for their teeth, manicure nails, do first aid for scrapes, but how many of us even consider bringing up how to take care of our mental health? Why don’t we teach and practice emotional first aid?
Someone decided a very long time ago that to admit to or discuss anything related to our emotional or mental health was a sign of weakness. Issues such as chronic anxiety or depression were not talked about, and people were shamed into silence and expected to “get over it” on their own. However, if you break your leg, you go to the emergency room, spend thousands of dollars on exams, tests, and treatment. Get people to sign your cast. Have friends and family help you get around. Many people even do physical therapy or some form of rehabilitation afterwards to recover from the injury. Anyone who has suffered from severe depression or another chronic mental health condition can tell you that it is just as debilitating, if not more so, than a broken leg. Yet, we don’t seek out treatment at the onset. We don’t feel comfortable discussing it with people. We don’t get the support we need.
According to NIMH of Americans suffer from some kind of mental health disorder. Less than half of those people identified receive treatment. I suspect that the numbers of people suffering from a mental health disorder that are not identified would be staggering. Issues with mental health have been prevalent for a long time, and the statistical trends show it increasing. Luckily, we are beginning to talk about it, and increase awareness about common conditions. Now, when are we going to start treating it like every other medical condition? Wouldn’t it be great to feel comfortable discussing mental health concerns without fear of shame and stigmatizing?