The Need To Start Important Conversations

Silence is deadly, it shields and hides. The silence buries way too much, and more often than not, all the things that need to be heard.

 

In an ever growing society, the need to speak up becomes greater each day. Through centuries of advancement and progression, mankind has undoubtedly come far, yet it still remains a fact that so many issues are constantly being ignored, words are erased and voices are quietened. One such issue is one that concerns us all - mental health, but unfortunately, the stigma surrounding this subject is so overwhelming that many people dare not even approach it.

 

The stigma around mental health enables the misconception that people who struggle with mental health issues are weak; that they are lacking. But this is so far from the truth - struggling is essentially just another aspect of being human and it does and should not make us any lesser. As humans, peaks and falls are inevitable, as are breaking and healing - why are we praised when we reach greater heights but shunned when we hit rock bottom? The act of attributing one’s worth in accordance with their successes and failures is a flawed concept - civilisation has grown so much and it is shocking to think that offering help to those who are struggling is still not normalised. The world, unfortunately, lacks kindness and concern and for this very reason, people who struggle with mental health are either ridiculed or left alone with no help. This taboo on speaking about mental health is so strong that it has become another huge burden on those already suffering, and a study  in the UK has shown that, nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives. Additionally, other than resulting in greater mental torment to those with mental health issues, this stigma and constant, habitual belittling of others’ problems, causes people to shy away from opening up and sharing their struggles. So, not only does the silence of society on this issues bring harm but the fear that their silence evokes in the hearts and minds of those who are struggling, creates another silence that can lead to devastating consequences.

 

However, this stigma can be challenged and change is not unattainable. All of it starts from individuals themselves for the simple act of checking up on a dear one and spreading awareness on mental health issues can go a long way. These little deeds do not go unnoticed and these ripples will one day grow into ocean waves, and more conversations will be stirred revolving mental health problems. What people need is a community that accepts and understands, not one that accentuates their shortcomings and mocks their insecurities. Research has found that more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression and, at its worst, depression leads to suicide with the staggering statistics reported that nearly 800,000 people lose their lives to suicide.

 

The thing is, unfortunately, when someone who experiences pain so indescribable that they have bottled it up within them for far too long, they grow to feel that there is nothing that can ease their sufferings. So, your one simple question when asking them how they are doing or your one statement that you are always there to support them, they can make a difference because more often than not, those who are struggling yearn to be heard and to be showered with care and concern. Mental health struggles are not things to be ashamed, they are not flaws nor weaknesses - they may be a part of us but they certainly do not define us - this is the message society needs to be upholding rather than avoiding conversations.

 

Lives can be saved if we fight towards the obliteration of this stigma, and though the journey towards doing so is far from easy, it will become one of mankind’s most remarkable achievements. It all begins with starting the important conversations for we must never forget that words have the power to make and break. The reality remains that if we do not break this silence, it will eventually consume us whole.

 

Words By: Harsheni Maniarasan

Edited By: Dasha Pitts-Yushchenko