Why are we speaking up about mental health? Awareness, of course. But really, why?

It’s a longer version of a question that a friend asked me yesterday. Why do we talk about it? Why do we encourage people with mental health issues to say it out loud?

Breaking this stigma. People cringe when you bring it up. On channels and stuff, its better but people either misunderstand you, shut you up, ignore you or think you’re talking trash. These are also the same people that we would go to if we believe we need help. They’re the people we would seek support from in some way. It’s not an easy fight and there are admins on telegram and almost every other social media platform trying to break the ice and make seeing a therapist and talking about mental health, etc, normal.

Speaking up benefits the person admitting they have mental health problems. I won’t deny that they would be vulnerable to people’s comments and opinions but along with that comes love and sympathy. I don’t mean they should throw you a pity party but there is relief in being able to face all your fears and telling the world ‘I have this situation I struggle with so deal with it’. There’s liberation in speaking the hell up about what you have. In addition, people would then have a bigger chance of understanding the things you feel and go through, and know the reason behind your actions and behavior that they would otherwise think are unexplained.

Speaking up benefits everyone else. Let’s say you have disorder A and you were diagnosed with it. You felt like you were all alone in this world and no one felt what you are feeling and have been feeling. You just randomly typed the word on the internet or talked about it to a group of people. Turns out you’re not the only one with disorder A. Statistics could tell you one in 5 people suffer from it, blah blah but admit it, there’s nothing like reading something  or watching something prepared by someone who has the same situation as you for that specific purpose. This doesn’t mean celebrities only, anyone speaking up can be a beacon of hope to others like him/her and someone to relate to in a world of chaos.

When you don’t know what to do, you tell someone about it. That someone may be read something related on a book sometime back or they know someone with a similar case. That other someone refers you to the actual type of help you need, and networking actually saves you so much energy and time. Your options were 0 at first, but when you shared your problem with someone or some people, you had a few at hand. They don’t have to be perfect, but knowing you have choices to choose from gives you control of what’s going on.