Let's talk about a silent topic

Signs that say "Don't give up", "You are not alone", "You matter"

Isn’t it ironic that sometimes the things that may cause more pain thrive in the deafening silence of stigmas and taboos? Isn’t it ironic that perhaps, this pervasive agony exists in a much more different way than we perceive – that it’s not always physical? Let’s take a moment to speak about the silent topic.

At HumanityUp, we engage in discourses regarding diverse issues that affect our world today. Coming together from different parts of the world, we connect, absorb, learn and love the true beauty of inter-connectedness and humanity. This month’s topic is Mental Health, and not only did we open up and talk about our own feelings, but we also spoke about the positive ways we can tackle this topic, aiding society as a whole.

Mental health, as a notion, is a generally taboo topic, neglected, shrugged off and ignored as a genuine health concern. Embedded in traditional beliefs and norms, the toxicity concerned with mental health has affected individuals who continuously suppress their feelings to avoid confrontation, shame and negligence. The growing stigma surrounding mental illness has lived for generations on, the disapproval adding to the weight one carries with their emotions itself.

The fear of someone’s emotions and feelings being dismissed, almost degraded for being a defeatist approach, is a heartbreaking reason for so many individuals keeping their inner struggles to themselves. Thus, we must ask ourselves and each other, what can we do to better, or even end the stigma surrounded by Mental Health?

"Our greatest resource is each other and our common humanity. Making a commitment to support your community through thick and thin is so essential. So, reach out to someone, and ask them how they’re doing. Just knowing that someone genuinely cares and that you’re not in this alone – it makes such a huge difference, and you can go do it right now!”
Gracie Chick,
Community Advocate, Young Changemaker, An Amazing Human Being

To fully untangle the labyrinth of the communities and systems around us, we must untangle the truth of how we feel ourselves. We, first, need to learn that it’s okay to be vulnerable, and it’s okay to connect with our feelings. Widening our vocabulary to truly understand where our mind is maybe the first step. There is a myriad of words that can conform to our feelings, apart from just “sad”, “happy”, “angry” or “neutral”.

While it’s imperative to tackle this notion at an institutional and governmental level, action must start locally, socially and culturally. Whether it’s taking the opportunity to try to speak to your friends, opening up so they feel like they can do the same, or practising active listening, these small actions can go a long way to counter the stigma around Mental Health.

It’s never too late to encourage change and empower those who feel their lack of voice. We must work from the root of the problem, its symptoms and then its solution. A plethora of individuals are unaware of the serious results and impact concerned with mental health, and as a result, they immediately link it to the ideas of being crazy. And, so what? What’s wrong with being crazy? Knowledge and awareness are the keys to recognize and acknowledge the notion as a normal topic of conversation. This will result in a ripple effect of acceptance.

Our friends, families, teachers, and peers look towards their circle for validation. As active members of society, it is our duty to take a stand to support those who may feel suppressed or shunned away. It’s time we lifted this veil of shame from the notion and normalize the struggles of our communities. We’re starting now and we’re hoping to lead a happier, healthier, and positive future for all. That’s our vision. What’s yours?