But Jim, mental health isn’t a luxury, it’s a description of something we all experience — good or bad!
Yes indeed, but for the vast majority of the human species it’s either not a concept, or even an idea represented in their vocabulary, or it’s something that “wealthy western” people get obsessed about while the rest of the world struggle with the basics of survival.
Our culture has given us the privilege of being able to research psychology and related fields and how our minds dramatically affect all aspects of life more than we ever imagined.
But to sort out our mental health requires “mental health professionals”. And these highly trained people are few and far between, have spent a significant part of their lives training and need to be supported financially for their efforts (and that’s how it should be for these amazing people).
In practical terms though, this means “ya gotta pay to get your shit sorted”, and for gazillions of people, this is not an option. America possibly has the highest percentage of people who visit their therapists (I could be wrong in that assumption, but Hollywood certainly gives that impression!) but it’s only for those who can afford it.
Many countries have varying degrees of social welfare help (in New Zealand we get a handful of visits if we are on a benefit), but for the vast majority of humans, it’s not an option, and yet we are bombarded with mental health messages every day.
I’ve had to work through my own mental health issues, especially over the last 10 years or so, and it’s been hard going. I had a few sessions under our social welfare setup, but had to do all my own research in the end. I found friends who could support me, online groups, books and lectures etc.
Despite being told that I needed to get “fixed” and certainly knowing that I was not functioning very well, that help was simply not available.
For most of us, we either give up and stumble along, or tragically, many don’t get the help unless they step over the edge into non-functional lives — chronic depression, suicide attempts etc.
I love that we’ve learned so much about our minds and the need for us to nurture our mental health. But I hate that it’s become such a “thing” that it’s used to determine our ability to fit into our culture on the one hand, and then deprive us of the ability to get the help on the other.
I’m fortunate in that I have the time and ability to explore alternative ways to live life to the fullest. I’ve also determined to be open to anything, never assume that I’ve found “truth” and avoid dogma. Plus I’ve learned the joy and pain of deep self examination and personal honesty. But I know from those I try to help that this is not an easy task.
We can do this together however. Take the time to do whatever research you can, and explore whatever paths you need to unravel and grow. Find ways that bring peace, self worth and self love, insight and empathy. And yes, there are a few organisations out there that offer free help, but they are stretched and can only offer so much for so few.
Be there for each other, without judgement, full of empathy and compassion, and this will help far more than we could imagine!
JUNE 19, 2020