The mental health issue has been at the forefront during this pandemic and people that never even knew they had a mental disorder are dealing with one in the aftermath. Because it is a common taboo topic within many households and families, it had not received the attention it deserved, until now. Recently celebrities such as Vine Star Lele Pons and singer/rapper Kanye West have taken it upon themselves to speak about their own struggles with mental health.
Pons revealed a vulnerable side of her in her documentary “The Secret Life of Lele Pons” which shows her everyday struggles with OCD and Tourettes and West (who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder) sparked a conversation after his latest and very public mental breakdown at his first presidential rally in North Charleston.
The Mental Health stigma is prevalent in all career fields and many refuse to talk about it and seek help, because of the bias or discrimination they will face. However, as more and more individuals have begun to choose to write, speak, and give their own personal anecdotes about what it is like to live with a mental disorder or to be closely related to someone who is struggling with mental health, the stigma has taken a different turn in hopes of bettering the environment.
One major step to helping yourself or others is to be proactive. If you are already aware and ready to do something about it, just do it! Numerous mental help professionals across the country are ready and willing to help with overcoming the stigma associated with mental illnesses. A mental illness isn’t just in your head and it can be physical. For instance, depression can actually be a result of too much or too little of a chemical in your brain. In their latest mental health research data, Harvard University found that “faulty mood regulation caused by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems,” are other factors that can contribute to depression.
We all go through ups and downs in life, but it is important to recognize when the problem becomes greater than us. While sometimes it can seem obvious when someone is clearly struggling with their mental health, other times it’s not so easy to tell. So what can you do or how can you help?
It is extremely important, when trying to aid someone, to respond sensitively. It is much more effective and welcoming to someone who seems troubled when you approach them in an empathetic way. Try not to find out whether or not they have been officially diagnosed with an illness, that’s not even the concern at first. It is also important to understand that no two struggles are the same. While two individuals may be experiencing very similar symptoms, they won’t behave the exact same way when unwell. If it is someone you are personally really close to you may begin to notice mood changes or behavior changes. Perhaps they may begin to show less interest in activities they once loved partaking in; therefore it will be easier to spot a problem.
Overall, if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health it is important to begin by speaking about it and acknowledging there is indeed a problem that needs to be addressed.
Once you know there is an issue it is important to not wait, because you never know when severe meltdowns can occur.
To get immediate help you can visit: www.mentalhealth.gov
By Jennifer Santos