If you don't have a mental health disorder, you may be wondering how mental health is relevant to you. Sure, you're sad sometimes, but you don't have clinical depression. Yeah, you get anxious before you take an exam, but you don't have panic disorder. So why do you need to care about mental health in any way shape or form.
This is why: because your brother has depression. Your best friend has PTSD. Your neighbor had a baby and now is coping with post partum depression. Your co-worker is bipolar. Your professor struggles with clinical depression. There are people all around us that are coping with some sort of mental illness. Yet, we (as a society) choose to silence them.
It's time for us (as a community) to stop putting our hands over our ears and start listening. You will find that someone you know has mental illness, and their story needs to be heard.
It's time to stop treating mental health disorders as if they are something to be ashamed of and time to start thinking about them as legitimate health concerns. You wouldn't telling a diabetic to stop whining about taking their insulin. The same goes for the person coping with a manic episode.
Speaking openly about mental health is important for the world.
There are people who are self-medicating mental health disorders every day by abusing drugs and alcohol. One of the reasons for this is that they are shunned by society.
If they could speak their truth...
If their voices were heard...
If we just listened...
We could change the dialogue surrounding depression, anxiety and PTSD. The first thing we need to do is listen.
You can read some of the stories of people living with mental health issues on a community I created called Stigma Fighters. If you are living with mental illness in silence, I encourage you to submit your story to this community. We want to hear your voice. You are not alone.