Wondering how you can normalize mental health issues? Why is mental health issue a big deal, after all? When your physical health is poor, people around you ‘understand’ but when you deal with mental health issues, why is it a ‘hush-hush’ business?
Mental health has a lot of stigma around it for ages and it still has. In spite of how progressive and futuristic the world has become, the attitude around mental health hasn’t changed much. Is it because people confuse mental health concerns with some voice inside their head or some age-old voodoo stuff?
But I must ask you if they can believe such superficial and unreal things and accept it, why not something which is real and which needs attention?
How to Normalize Mental Health Issues?
Being associated with a mental health initiative for a while, one thing that I realized is it’s no biggie. True that mental health problems need proper care and attention like any physical health and there is nothing to be ashamed of. It is very much like a fever or a common cold that needs proper medication or a doctor’s advice.
I have been lucky enough to talk to a lot of people who have been suffering from mental health issues, and also to a lot of experts/psychologists in the field who work for mental health. They made me understand the nuances of it like, how to talk to people, how to provide proper care and listen to people better.
Also, availing therapy when I wasn’t feeling well helped me declutter my mind and I have been vocal about it ever since.
5 Ways you can normalize conversations around mental health issues
Now, let’s dive into 5 steps you can do to help normalize mental health around you.
#Talk about how you feel
Yes, Talking about it helps in stamping out the stigma. Find a safe space. It could be your partner, your parent, your friend, your psychologist, or even a
stranger. There are so many organizations that work for mental health these days. Support them and use the platform wisely.
#Proper awareness of mental health in schools
We can normalize mental health issues by raising proper awareness. This will be one of the best and powerful solutions in removing the stigma around it. Education plays an important role in character development and teaching kids the importance of mental health will bring in positive change.
#Right usage of words
Yes, you heard it right. Printed media, social media platforms, and other digital media should be very careful while reporting or sharing articles around mental health.
The media has a wide reach and a large number of people perceive what the media writes as RIGHT. Using ‘abnormal’ or ‘crazy’ loosely will knock down the whole concept to normalize mental health issues. By careful reporting, I believe the media can bring a huge wave of change.
#Practice what you preach
If you support the cause of mental health and are NOT ignorant like your colleagues or group of friends, it’s time to practice it openly. Let’s not be ashamed of it. Talk about it. Stick with your opinion. I have seen a lot of people supporting and talking about mental health inside closed doors.
They have used mindfulness apps and are availing therapy but they don’t talk about it to the world. The world might not understand you, at first. But unless you talk about it now, all your life you will be inside closed doors. Maybe by talking about it, you are giving someone like you a chance to talk about their issues and feel better the best way to normalize mental health issues.
If I don’t agree with you that doesn’t mean that I am abnormal that just means that I am different. Acceptance only comes after proper listening. Listening is a very powerful tool in normalizing the stigma. Set aside some time from your daily life for listening. Listening to the people you love and care about can make a big difference in their life. Practice it consistently. Lending time to your loved ones is much worthier than buying them expensive gifts.
Yes, it’s better said than done. It takes a lot of courage and kindness to change a behavior, especially if that’s a deep-rooted problem.
And I would like to remind you that it’s 2020 and we have a never-ending pandemic before us which is already hampering our daily lives, so let’s not make a big deal out of this (health concern which is curable) but rather understand it and get help.
There is no shame in having mental health issues!