It seems to me, living in London, being brought up in an African/British household and community, and having reserved, conservative parents have definitely made accessing counselling or psychotherapy really off-putting. Team that up with a society where the previously expected formula for a successful is ‘go to uni + do a masters + do an internship = job’, and it increases more symptoms of decreasing mental health!
‘Sick, twisted people go the mental hospital’, ‘Are you mental? Are you sick in the head?’ – It’s this kind of statements and utterings that are often conveyed within a lot of households. The image of the distressed, rough looking person with a straight jacket and a constant twitch that eludes danger and insanity is commonly in the minds of a lot of people where mental health is involve. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.
Many people are suffering the same things but are afraid that it will make them seem weak. A negative label hanging over their heads like their an outcast to society. It’s simply not true. There are many ways to deal with our stresses and issues in life. Meditation is common place. Going tot he gym.
Having sex. (Okay maybe not so much as a long term solution, but it gives some endorphines to us). Praying. Art therapy, dance therapy, drama therapy, etc. Talking to someone about it….like…a friend, stranger, or going to a qualified counsellor at a local health clinic. Even creating online groups to discuss about certain topics like anxiety. It helps.
I’ve tried counselling and told one or two people about it that aren’t family, because again of the social stigma. But I’m putting it out there now. And it helps. It’s one of many ways to work on issues that we all suffer from. Having an objective point of view within a completely confident environment and a professional experienced approach makes a difference. I had about six sessions – it was a free service available at uni – but even then it made me see a little ‘out of myself’. It gave me some distance and perspective that I appreciated because I didn’t think about it that way before. Luckily it was free as well. I have to admit, many private health services cost an arm and a leg, which makes it even more inaccessible.
It’s funny that in the States it’s not a big of a deal to have a psychotherapist on hand. Or have a marriage counsellor (or at least its more accepted in society). But in the UK, it seems like a very big deal. Why? Hmm.
It seems that discussing mental health publicly or at least having a person to talk to about is a real demand – even in a world where everyone is ‘talking’ (communicating ) on social media.
Happy #WorldMentalHealthday ! Keep sharing.
On my next post in this series I will be talking about Art therapy as it is a new found appreciation of mine, and more.
Please share your experiences, stories or opinions whatever it may be. I would love to do podcasts or interviews with anyone who would like to share and contribute towards future posts in the series. You can always contact me directly on my email firstname.lastname@example.org.