I think Erin makes some important points in this post. I encourage you to go read the whole thing and take a minute to think about the issue of class and poverty as it relates to mental health. Not because middle and upper class people don’t have serious mental health issues. They do, mental health issues don’t only impact any one class, race, or any other line you want to draw to define people. They impact everyone.
But, the answer to those issues is different. Take, for example the advice I give people all the time, don’t be afraid to speak up and get help.
There’s nothing wrong with that advice, but it is aimed at specific types of people, because they’d be reading it on a blog, and that’s a pretty middle class thing to do. Or at least it requires internet access, and stuff like that. But it’s also important to recognize how many people around the world don’t have that option.
We can talk all we want about taking time for self-care, and trying to deal with stress in healthy ways, but try telling that to the single mom working 12 hours a day, or the father working two jobs, 80 hours a week just to pay the rent and feed his family. Where are they getting help when depression hits? When do they have time or other resources to do that? What “help” is available to the unemployed, uninsured, or homeless mentally ill? And those are just Western examples, what about refugees, peasant workers in third world countries? Can we really expect them to “take a mental health day”? Billions of people in the world don’t have help and treatment available to them because of their location or financial statues.
We need to recognize the reality for many people does not include any options for getting help, and figure out how to change that, in addition to encouraging people who have available resources to not be ashamed to use them because mental health issues are not just something that affects those other groups.
Both of these things can be true, helpful messages, that we need to speak up about. They don’t cancel each other out.