Monday, May 20, 2024

So That Was #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek… | Discovering Hope

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Sure, I’m conscious the title is pretty apparent. Psychological Well being Consciousness Week 2023 is over. However I’m inclined to marvel how lots of the individuals, organisations, corporations and so forth are nonetheless speaking about psychological well being now that the week is over. Perhaps that is cynical however I’d guess it isn’t practically as many as have been speaking about it throughout the week. And that’s a part of why I needed to put up about it this week relatively than final week (shout out to my therapist for speaking this out with me).


Throughout Psychological Well being Consciousness Week, I used to be scrolling via the #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek tag on Twitter and located myself simply seething at what I used to be seeing: nearly all of posts have been both very primary details about psychological well being (and I imply very primary), imprecise platitudes (like ‘it’s okay to not be okay’), and footage of assorted royals attending numerous occasions. The theme of the week was nervousness however I didn’t even know that till I appeared on the Psychological Well being Basis web site afterwards. And all of those posts, I couldn’t assist however suppose, ‘How is any of this beneficial in any manner?’

I began ranting and the Twitter thread received longer and longer however, earlier than I posted it, I assumed that perhaps this weblog was a greater place for these ideas. The viewers is certainly smaller however Twitter is so filled with potential pitfalls (everyone knows how poisonous it may be) and it’s really easy to be taken out of context when you may have such little house to try to categorical your ideas. So I took a breath, didn’t click on put up, after which copy and pasted all of these ideas over right here.

My first thought once I checked Twitter and realised that it was #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek (I nearly all the time have household stuff throughout that week, which fully absorbs my focus, after which I’m all the time greater than a bit thrown once I realise) was “Ah sure, one other 12 months, one other #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek the place organisations and firms fake to care about psychological well being and psychological sickness by posting probably the most primary info and platitudes earlier than going again to pretending it doesn’t exist. I’m so glad you guys can take the remainder of the 12 months off now as a result of these of us struggling positive as hell can’t.” Once more, that’s a really cynical view – I do know that there are a lot of individuals who do care and we don’t must put up about issues on social media to show that we’re enthusiastic about them – however I discover it so deeply irritating to look at individuals (and worse, an organisation or firm) act as if they care deeply simply because it’s the annual consciousness week and it makes them look good to put up about it. As a result of, as I stated, many people – myself included – don’t have the posh of not caring about psychological well being and psychological sickness as a result of we’re fighting it day-after-day. Each week is Psychological Well being Consciousness Week. I’ve personally spent over ten years residing and fighting the signs of a number of psychological well being issues, being traumatised by methods which are presupposed to be serving to, supporting, and defending me (together with the present authorities – HA); I don’t belief them to look after me and even about me – I doubt I ever will – and that’s NOT OKAY. That’s not how healthcare and psychological well being assist are presupposed to work. I’m very privileged – and really feel extraordinarily grateful – to have the ability to discover care independently, however so many individuals aren’t on this place, leading to many, many individuals not receiving the care and assist that they want, one thing that’s, once more, NOT OKAY.

However again to social media and consciousness days (as a lot as I might speak about it, this isn’t a put up about how the methods in place aren’t supporting these of us fighting psychological well being issues). It may be very upsetting to see large, impersonal firms tweet about ‘reaching out’ or ‘[listing] issues to be pleased about’ and it feels very out of contact and performative and simply fairly offensive. This isn’t what Psychological Well being Consciousness Week is about, what it’s for. At the least it shouldn’t be. Personally I don’t suppose consciousness days and consciousness weeks are notably useful and, at worst, probably problematic (for instance, it provides individuals an excuse to not have interaction with these points as a result of they really feel like they’ve accomplished their bit in the course of the one consciousness day or week a 12 months) however, if we’re going to have them, they need to be a possibility to share sources (ones which are really useful, not ones with recommendation we’ve all heard a thousand occasions), to have actual discussions concerning the perceptions now we have concerning the related situation and the way stated situation is dealt with by the related methods (or not dealt with), to raise and rejoice the activists making an attempt to boost consciousness, and so forth. They shouldn’t be a possibility for manufacturers to look socially engaged or for outlets to generate profits from barely related and sometimes obnoxious merchandise. Nowadays may very well be a lot extra (this is a very fascinating article on elevating consciousness, why sure campaigns fail, and the way we will make them more practical); we might make them a lot extra.

As I feel we’ve established, I’m fairly cynical about all of this and do imagine that many individuals will fully neglect about psychological well being as a subject now that the week is over. However whereas I do suppose that there are a lot of individuals who talked or posted about it simply because it was trending on social media, I additionally know with absolute certainty that there could have been many individuals who didn’t remark and don’t remark for fully legitimate causes: all of us have our personal battles to battle and we, as human beings, can’t totally commit ourselves to each trigger (compassion fatigue is a really actual factor). After which, in fact, there are the superior individuals who proceed to share their tales, to talk out, to try to push the world in the direction of change – doing every part from making artwork about it to campaigning for higher methods to creating extra illustration within the media to supporting people with psychological well being issues, and so forth – no matter what week it’s. I’ve nice respect for everybody doing this (and for all of those essential causes however I’m making an attempt actually onerous to not get derailed inside this gorgeous particular weblog put up) and I’m so impressed to maintain being loud about my experiences with psychological well being and doing every part I can to make a greater, safer world for us.


As I stated, I typically neglect that Psychological Well being Consciousness Week is going on – the sixteenth Could is the anniversary of my Dad’s demise and it simply takes up plenty of time and vitality and emotion, as you’ll be able to in all probability think about – and I’ve plenty of huge, twisted up ideas about consciousness days and weeks basically. The purpose that I assume I’m making an attempt to make right here is that I don’t just like the (nearly) performative activism it unintentionally encourages and infrequently helps the folks that it’s really presupposed to. And I feel we will do them higher. I do know we will. It’s only a case of determining how and making it occur, which I do recognize is much simpler stated than accomplished. However then, what isn’t? (Apart from silence and we actually don’t need that both.)


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