cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

[CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

jars

“Good afternoon, commuters. Unfortunately, this southbound train will terminate at the next station due to a police incident at X station. This line may experience some delays. We apologise for this inconvenience.”

 

This was what I heard yesterday late afternoon, during a thunderstorm.

 

But a different kind of storm was yet to come.

 

Standing in a crowded carriage, I could see the impatience, the anguish and yet, the curiosity on the faces of my fellow travellers. As we exited the train at the next station, I begin to hear the whispers and the mutterings through the crowd. Then I heard this:

 

“It’s always some sort of police incident. Must be some crazy kid...”

 Always. This shouldn’t be accepted as a normal, everyday thing.

 

People assume, that the term “police incident” is associated with someone who has ended their life. This is usually met with shock, fear and cynicism, which hastily leads to a finger-click back to reality of just wanting to get their destination. But this is reality.

 

We may not have known this person and their life experiences, however, we still can empathise. People avoid the topic of mental illness altogether or think that being nice towards someone experiencing it will make it all go away – never to be seen again. Unfortunately, this doesn’t show a great deal of empathy nor understanding. Mental illness is somehow seen to define a person.

 

As someone who has had depression and anxiety for many years, this is simply not true. Being a quiet, reserved person, no one would ever guess that I live a fairly normal life. Just like everyone else. Anyone can experience mental illness. I’ve heard the awful gaffs, even now in university, which make me cringe and feel resigned. There’s the familiar ones like “spastic”, “mental”, “crazy” and “emo” as well as jokes about self-harm and wanting to die or to kill oneself because of a difficult assignment.  Then there’s the more creative ways of expressing it, like jokingly using these in a French speaking exercise. Regardless of the language, there’s nothing more heinous than these slurs.

 

This doesn’t help at all. As tackling mental illness arises and then is suddenly dismissed, we continue going around in a circle of stigma and exclusion. Moreso, improving mental health is trivialised. It can be difficult to speak up and to tell others how wrong it is; no matter how funny they think it is. People do tend to forget (or may not even know) that showing disgust, avoiding someone, as well as, complaining about train delays because of “some crazy kid” does not make it easier.

 

Because of this, this can lead to hiding away, shunning a great deal of people, and not bothering, or not even knowing where to start to find support.

 

This is what happened to me and I gave up for the longest time.

 

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

 

With organisations like ReachOut.com and Headspace, campaigns like RUOK? and the many hotlines out there, we’re pushing forward. In person, online or on the phone, we’re doing our best to help you and so that you don’t feel like you’re alone. In Australia, we have come along a long way to address this but we’re still going at it. We’ve still got a lot to do and to do it right; delivering quality services for everyone. Our journey continues with all of us and I hope that our personal experiences can support others at different stages in their lives.

 

After slowly stumbling upon services by accident, moving around, meeting some people and making new friends, it became better. Mental health awareness and gaining more knowledge of mental illness are very important issues among my peers – and I am grateful.

 

Getting back onto the train, I reflect  and then my finger-click happens. I’m “back in reality”, but it hasn’t changed. Not yet. Driving through the rain, I’m late for my first meeting with a local mental health youth group in my hometown. As I get out of my car, standing in the rain and feeling excited and nervous, I remember why I’m here.

 

To help the people who’ve helped me.

 

***Whether you’ve experienced mental illness, know someone who has, wants to break down stigma once and for all, or you’d like to know more about how to support others – we want to hear from you! Join us to chat about tackling mental health stigma in everyday life on Monday 28 September at 8pm, AEST! We'll be talking about the practical things you can do in your everyday lives! ***

 

 

___________________________________________________
Stay excellent

Re: [CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

Hello guys and gals, welcome to tonight’s GR sesh on mental health stigma. Stigma is everywhere and we are really looking forward to seeing what you guys think about it and if it has affected you personally.


Tonight’s chat will be moderated by myself, @Myvo  and @Sophie-RO  and we ask that you keep the guidelines, we like to keep these chats as happy and safe as possible. Also, if you do get upset or overwhelmed about the content tonight, remember there are a whole bunch of services that can help you located at the top corner under ‘get help’.

 

Soooooo, let's get started!!!!!

 

Tonight we're going to kick off by having a few "Myth or Fact”, so tell us:

 

 

Re: [CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

Helloooo everyone! Smiley Happy

 

 

___________________________________________________
Stay excellent

Re: [CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

Hi guys. stigma sucks!

Re: [CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

I think it's MYTH, FACT, MYTH, FACT.

 

I have to agree with @Myvo though… it can be tricky. I wasn't totally sure about the last one.

Re: [CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

"Only certain people are prone to get a mental illness"
Myth.

"Mental health issues are common"

Fact.


"Most people who have a mental illness will recover"
Mmm - it depends on your definition of recovery I suppose! If you mean "get completely better forever" then i'm going to say myth? But if you mean "recover" like recovering from a down period of mental illness and going on to lead a positive life then i'm going to say fact maybe? Smiley Happy

"Depression is the most common mental illness among young people in Australia"
Fact

lanejane

Re: [CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

Hey @chandelier! I agree, Stigma realy does suck.

Re: [CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

"Only certain people are prone to get a mental illness" myth...
"Mental health issues are common" true
"Most people who have a mental illness will recover" Fact
"Depression is the most common mental illness among young people in Australia" i don't know... fact?

Re: [CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

Yup, stigma definitely does suck! I can totally empathise with stumbling over a few of these!

___________________________________________________
Stay excellent

Re: [CHAT] Tackling mental health stigma in everyday life

yea I wasn't sure about some of them...
Announcements
Share what's on your mind:
Head here to start a topic

Not sure where to start?:
Head here and say hi!
Users Online
Currently online: 1 member 212 guests
Recent signins:
Please welcome our newest community members:
Top High Fived Authors