I have seen a few people on Twitter talk about how they won’t be online tomorrow, because they just can’t take another awareness campaign telling people to “reach out” that doesn’t have any real resources.
Which is maybe why it’s so interesting that the theme for this year, according to WHO, is all about making mental health resources available through increased investments. – https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020
So, yeah, it’s frustrating, and we all know what a problem it is. Until we get that fixed, all the awareness in the world will only make a small difference in the overall problem. A pebble maybe. My own feeling is that I’d rather we had the pebble, than not have the pebble, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that there is not enough of anything when it comes to mental health care.
But, there’s also this from an article earlier this week:
By their nature, awareness efforts open up conversation on their given topics, and when people start talking about mental health, mental health stigma is often quick at its heels. I’ve seen countless awareness posts where people spew vitriol and pretty much spit in the face of the efforts. For those who are still feeling the sting of mental health stigma strongly, this can compound the negativity and fear (“Stigma and Discrimination: The Effects of Stigma“).
Before I was open about my mental illnesses, there was always this worry in my mind that there was no way people couldn’t know about my struggles, and every step felt like an invite to stigma. When it came to awareness efforts, that was magnified. Every time I might have shared or even liked an awareness post, I was worried about what stigma might follow. It made me hesitant to participate.
Frankly, I sort of know this goes on, but I have only experienced it a few times myself, so I haven’t given it very much thought. There is, however, no doubt in my mind that this happens, and it happens often.
So let’s get this out there. Tomorrow is a day to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. It’s an opportunity for anyone who is dealing with mental health issues to see that there are many people who get it, and do support them, even if only virtually. It’s also a day to be reminded, sometimes literally, that there is still far too much stigma, and far too little investment, in mental health. That’s not fun. That’s not uplifting.
Taking care of yourself is an incredibly important part of looking out for your own mental health. Tomorrow is also Saturday. If your mental health will be better off by you not being online tomorrow, go do exactly that. Go enjoy your weekend, and know that I see you, and I feel what you’re saying. Your frustration is my frustration too. Being tired of the stigma, and how hard it is for people to get help is normal. I’m exhausted. I’m tired of talking about it, tired of reading about it, and tired of seeing stories of people who can’t get help when they need it, all around the world. I’m also tired of all the people on social media who make talking about it even harder than it already is, who want to troll, or just create drama because it’s never enough for them.
Again, I’m exhausted. I also know how incredibly lucky I was the get help, and I want that same thing available for everyone. So, I’ll find a way to continue talking about it here, while also taking care of my own mental health. I hope you will too, even if we don’t all take part in the same events.