Man with megaphone

Sharing – I don’t want your ‘mental health awareness’

I wanted to share this article from a Duke student because, frankly, I think this is an important thing for many of us to remember about mental health advocacy. Like Bisma, I am happy that we have so many people feeling less stigmatized, and helped by the attention being paid to depression, anxiety and the importance of self-care. But, there are still a lot of people who can be forgotten as we dole out the common platitudes.

“The conversations surrounding mental health at Duke are so largely saturated by the “less taboo” sides of mental illness. How often do you hear about serious conversations or advocacy methods around here about the “other” sides of mental illness? You know, the real, ugly sides that result in days or weeks spent in bed missing countless classes and message inboxes full of unanswered emails from professors, deans, counselors, you name it. “

I know I’ve talked about this before, but this is a good reminder. Yes, awareness is important. There are still, in 2020, plenty of people who don’t feel like they can get help for even the more common mental health issues like Anxiety and Depression, so obviously there is still work to do in those areas. There are also a whole lot of people out there with symptoms that are a lot harder to feel compassion for. Self-harm, delusions, outbursts, etc. tied to BPD, PTSD, schizophrenia, etc. are unlikely to suddenly get better with some time in nature or a hot bath.

I’m all for taking the time for self-help, but we need to recognize that looks differently for everyone and what works to treat mental health issues looks different as well. Exercise, nature, baths, eating more healthy foods, etc. are all good things, and there’s some proof that they may alleviate some symptoms. There are also a whole bunch of people who need more than that. Our awareness efforts shouldn’t leave them out.

That’s pretty much the opposite of awareness, in fact.

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