Mental health doesn’t hold as much stigma as it used to, but the fact that it’s still widely misunderstood in a lot of workplaces and social situations means the topic is still approached with a certain level of ambivalence.
For many years, and still even to an extent now, mental health has been largely misunderstood.
Not so long ago, there was a lot of misinformation around the issue. It was such an unknown that being depressed was often labelled as “lazy”, and people suffering from it were probably categorised as “crazy” and ostracised from social groups. That’s not to say that today everybody completely understands depression – much less the wide range of other conditions that affect mental health – but we have certainly come a long way since the days of Girl, Interrupted.
Matt Haig, author of Reasons To Stay Alive, is undoubtedly a pioneer of mental health conversations. He says that mental health should be treated the same as any other physical health condition. (“Telling someone with anxiety they are wrapped up in themselves is like telling someone with their leg on fire they are a bit shouty”).
Mental health doesn’t hold as much stigma as it used to, but the fact that it’s still widely misunderstood in a lot of workplaces and social situations means the topic is still approached with a certain level of ambivalence. Awareness weeks and days are a great step in the right direction, but it would be great if we could one day envisage us reaching a point where we don’t need them.
Everybody has off days, and everybody makes mistakes. You can have anxiety and still be confident. You can be depressed and still be privileged. It’s important to be conscious and aware of those around you, regardless of their background or situation.
The point is: mental health is extremely complicated. Two people experiencing anxiety may present completely different traits or symptoms:
- Person 1 may be more withdrawn, reserved, and have less energy for basic, daily tasks
- Person 2 may exhibit more extrovert behaviour, seeking validity and reassurance from others and in social interactions
Or, someone may display elements of both sets of symptoms. Depression or anxiety can manifest itself in different ways within the same person from day to day. So, because there is no set paradigm for what mental health ‘looks like’, we’re never in a position to be cynical about another person’s situation or apply unfair judgement.
This Mental Health Week, the theme is kindness. Especially during these times when we aren’t able to see the ones we care about and love, kindness can go a long way. And kindness doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, sometimes it’s the smaller things that are the most effective.
Here at FieldHouse, we are very proud of our support of mental health challenges and the difficulties that they pose. We have always valued – and tried to demonstrate in everything we do – respect, trust, and honesty. If we are there for each other and everybody gets the support they need as and when they need it, that’s what counts.
Small acts of kindness
- Pay someone a compliment
- Offer to do something for someone else
- Do it anyway, without offering
- Ask someone how they are
- Send a small gift to someone’s house
- Send someone a song that reminds you of them
Small things that will improve your day
- Listen to your favourite song/ album
- Make a cup of tea
- Watch small acts of kindness videos on YouTube
- So many activities
- Discover tranquility and order an ocean and space bedroom light projector
- Vicariously discover tranquility with these bedroom aesthetics on Pinterest
- Disappear into a Netflix show (After Life if you feel like something emotional, The Stranger if you want a real WTF experience, and Dead To Me if you err more on the side of dark comedy)
- Here’s one from Reasons To Stay Alive: look at the sky. Seek vastness at every opportunity
- Archer the laughing fox
- Spend some time with your pet. If you don’t have pets; meet Fevzi
- Be kind