Changing Times For Mental HealthArfaq Hussain
The Importance of Mental Health
We’re living in increasingly enlightened times. There’s been a massive surge in public attitudes for mental health problems, and in my lifetime I can’t remember another point in time when there’s been so much public sympathy and awareness of the issue.
Social media’s played a huge part in normalising anxiety, panic and stress disorders as sufferers share stories and offer support on public forums where others can join the dialogue. But most of the good feelings and empathy we’re currently experiencing with people with mental health has come from those celebrities who’ve been brave enough to share their own struggles, which in turn has empowered their millions of followers to feel that they can share their stories without fear of judgement or ridicule.
Whatever your opinion of the current worldwide celebrity culture phenomenon (and I will personally avoid at all costs shows like Love Island) the Kardashians and similar as being completely unbearable to me, celebrities have done the world a massive favour by means of their awareness of mental health.
There isn’t a day that goes by without a hashtag trending in support of panic, stress, anxiety or mental health disorders in general; and the raising of public awareness of the difficulty in living with these conditions has caused a massive social change, right in front of ours, over the past couple of years.
I see it clearly reflected in the fantastic clients who I’m privileged to be able to help and coach with the lives. People are no longer ashamed, are more likely to speak out and articulate their problems, and are even likely to have their own website/blog site where they speak publicly about their issues.
It’s a far cry from the ‘shame and disown’ days, and I, like all other mental health practitioners, have literally been stood on tabletops cheering at the change in society’s attitude. Finally, we’ve moved towards an understanding that the person suffering isn’t to blame, isn’t at fault, isn’t defective or less than a ‘normal’ person in any way. Finally, we’ve created a climate where love, understanding, acceptance, and a genuine exchange of ‘top tips’ and ‘helpful hints’ can provide a wealth of free information and advice, while ‘trending hashtags’ can include everyone in a dialogue and network of support and understanding.
It’s been a truly monumental change to witness, and I’m actually very proud to have lived through the change and to be able to see for myself that we truly stand on the cusp of even greater change and understanding, and an even more inclusive world than ever before.
So don’t completely write off our celebrity culture or our obsession with social media – they can be true influencers, true arbiters of change, true reflections of a modern society that’s moving towards a worldwide inclusion of all its peoples, all deserving of love and respect. That is something to look forward to and admire.