One of the biggest problems affecting our society in this age is a stigma towards mental health. In decades gone by on the island of Ireland there has tended to be a backward mind-set regarding masculinity. Men were to be strong and silent. Thankfully the world has progressed a lot in the last few decades but mental health issues still remain alarmingly disproportionate among men.
If you notice one of your friends hasn’t been themselves recently then talk to them. Maybe they’ve been very withdrawn or just don’t seem themselves. Let them know you’re there for them, and if you’re going through a tough time know that there are people who will be there for you too.
If you had a broken leg would you try and hide the fact from people or would you try and get help? I know what I would do, and perhaps it’s time we took that line of thinking regarding the mental health epidemic. A useful analogy I read before compared it to needing glasses. Could a person survive without glasses? Probably, however it would impact quite negatively upon their daily life. It would be a lot of unnecessary struggle for a person when they could get a prescription for glasses. People wouldn’t tell someone with impaired vision to just try a little harder to see properly, so why is mental health treated with that line of thinking. I understand that dealing with mental health isn’t quite as simple as putting on a pair of glasses but we have to become more open and take more action beginning right now because the epidemic isn’t going to cure itself.
There isn’t going to be a drastic change overnight but if everyone had small change in mind-set and took a couple of small steps it would make a huge difference. You might be wondering what you, personally, can do. Well if everyone checked up on one person who might feeling down and found one person who they could tell how they’re feeling then it would a good step towards tackling a massive issue.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, hopefully it will reach at least one person the right way and that will be one person feeling a bit better than they did before.
Go n-eirí an bóthar leat,
Le gach deá ghuí,
Free Pieta House 24-hour suicide helpline on 1800 247 247
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