Mental Health ... In My Opinion
There has been so much focus on Mental Health in recent months and years, becoming more and more prevalent in the news and in society. Awareness is great, I get that and I applaud it. Especially since before, those suffering from depression, anxiety, delusions, panic etc. were labelled as crazy and as experiencing something to be ashamed of.
Now that we have achieved awareness, what I don't feel we need moving forward is more psychiatrists, coping skills, therapy appointments and pills. I believe what we as individuals, within our families and in society in general should strive for is more love, connection, sense of purpose and of truly belonging and being cared about by others ... whether that be within the family unit, at our workplace, in our schools, the media or within our own communities. We can put a band aid on the symptoms that people are experiencing by prescribing more concoctions of medications and arming people with a boat load of coping skills that are designed to manage, but not alleviate, their mental health challenges. Or instead of trying to placate and medicate the ever-increasing number of people that are dealing with mental health struggles, we can embrace the huge epidemic that we are witnessing today by focusing our money, time and efforts on the core of why it is happening (and on the rise) in the first place.
In Johann Hari's 2015 Ted Talks video titled "Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong" he talks very candidly about how a lack of connection, sense of belonging and love is what initiates people to drink, shop excessively or turn to drugs or Facebook "likes" in an effort to fill that deep and painful emptiness within. It is through the healing of these inner wounds that the intense cravings for one's drug of choice will diminish and be absent entirely. These cravings simply won't be there any longer as they will have been replaced by what the body is really craving ... connection.
I believe that mental health is very similar, meaning it is the core of our fast-paced, stress-filled, high expectation/low connection society that we live in today. It is catapulting our mental health crisis that we are currently experiencing to the breaking point.
Remember when Sunday was a day of rest (and not just in the religious sense)? Stores were closed. Families and friends shared dinner together. Most people didn't work that day. The streets were quiet and so were our minds and our lives.
Now we are bombarded with social media messages daily and interact with people online that we have never even met more than we do those closest to us in our REAL life! Our children are immersed in a multitude of after-school activities, bombarded with homework and educational expectations, come home to an empty house and are told what to think, how to act and what to want out of life. The elderly are stuffed into nursing homes that too often prove to be neglectful towards their trusting and beautiful hearts.
So many people feel isolated and alone with no voice or sense of belonging. We live in cities, not communities. Many people have experienced trauma, neglect and abuse which has led to the mind attempting to emotionally process these experiences within a petri dish of toxic environmental influences and remedies. The result? A rampant mental health crisis ... depression, anxiety, PTSD and panic attacks, to name a few … even in children as young as eight years old.
Instead of meeting the pain that individuals are experiencing deep within their hearts, we shove pills down their throat and give them a label or official diagnosis, thinking and believing that these band aids will alleviate the wounds and help those who are suffering. I beg to differ. It’s simple really. Typical of our modernized Western society, we complicate things. It’s time to get back to the basics. Only love, kindness, compassion, purpose, belonging and connection will truly help those on their mental health healing journey. Not more psychiatrists, coping skills, therapy appointments, mood charts and pills ... at least in my opinion.