Mental health awareness right now is not much more than empty rhetoric. I wish to explain to you how saying we need to talk about mental health does nothing to make people more aware of the subject. I wish to inform you about how a call for mental health awareness is convenient to make because it hardly forces anyone out of their comfort zones or makes someone challenge their preconceptions.
I was going through what people were saying about mental health a few days back on Instagram. I saw a post that seemed really angry about not being allowed to talk about mental health. “LET ME SPEAK!”, it proclaimed. The post was followed by radio silence. The speaker had lost its voice it seemed. There are many other similar examples of people sharing the need to talk about mental health but not following up on it. There are so many of us who don’t even know what mental health is!
I understand that different people may have different perspectives on the same issue but if the standardized definition isn’t known to most of the people then the whole concept builds upon shaky foundations. The next time you think about the need to talk about mental health, Ask yourself the following questions,
What is ‘mental health’? You must have an understanding of mental health but how does the WHO define it? How was it defined in the past? How could it be defined in the future?
Ask these questions and seek their answers. The answers exist, you just need the will to find them.
The ‘why’ question is the most important one. It is the question every knowledge seeker will ask you if you tell them you wish to talk about mental health. Why should we talk about mental health? What is so special about it that sets it apart from other issues? Why should it take precedence?
These questions are hard but they also hide the most horrifying truths. When you go out to tackle the hard questions is when you can expect to bring about change in people’s understanding.
You may have gotten an idea of what I’m trying to say by now. I know people need to talk about mental health but if we do so from a position of ignorance then the idea loses its meaning and respectability. Why would anyone pay heed to any idea if even those encouraging others to learn, know little about it?
These questions are the bedrock of any subject or issue. They lend substance and content to what may otherwise be a hollow call for change. Unfortunately, right now, that is what mental health awareness has become in many circles.
A hollow call coming from an empty vessel about how we need things to change.
I have tried to add substance to this hollow call with my new book. A book that will answer all of the questions above but again, what you choose to do is up to you. You could continue the empty rhetoric, you could educate yourself through the means of a book by someone who sought important answers or you could look for your own answers. It is an adventure in itself. Reading old research work, comparing it to new ones, reading critiques and counter-points.
You can hear the story and learnings of someone who has been on this adventure already or you could go for your own ride.
The choice ultimately is up to you.
ORDER MY NEW BOOK: SHHH! DON’T TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH HERE: