An Individual Illness
One thing that I’ve always said is that depression is a highly individual illness. No two cases are the same, no two treatments are the same, which makes it individual. When people try and compare themselves to the progress others are making, or when people tell others that “this treatment will work for you as it worked for me”, I feel it is important to remind them that it doesn’t work this way.
I say that mental health is unique and individual becasuse we, as human beings, are all very different. None of us would react in the same way to the situations life puts us in, which is just one mark of our individuality. Different stressors affect us in different ways and, as such, our mental health becomes very personal, very unique. My partner and I, for example, process things in different ways because of how unique the illnesses are, despite us both having the same label of “depression”.
Why am I talking about individuality though? Simply put, as the title says: no one cares about the individual.
No One Cares
It may sound harsh to say that no one cares but hear me out on this one. Think back over the past couple of years and think about how mental health is in our society. How is it treated by others? Is it viewed as important? Is it belittled? What do you think about the way it is treated? Now ask yourself whether or not it has changed vastly in the past couple of years. What did you come up with?
See, the truth as I see it is that there have been some changes made to mental health services, but not enough. The world is still rife with stigma and concepts such as self-harm or suicide are still greatly misunderstood. There are thousands of people struggling with mental illness and yet not enough people are willing to raise their voices to campaign for better services.
Until it’s a celebrity.
Please don’t get me wrong, celebrities struggling with mental illness is just as bad as people like you or me struggling, yet I can’t help but notice that they manage to garner more attention. When Chester Bennington died, for example, social media exploded with tweets and posts about the singer, from tributes to mental health awareness campaigns. Yet when Joe Public from down the street died? Nothing.
Granted, the celebrities have the added bonus of the limelight and that spotlight that means people notice them. My question, however, is why should it take a celebrity coming out with a mental health struggle before anyone raises their voice? Why shouldn’t we be campaigning for better mental health care for the individuals struggling?
Why do we sit back apathetically?
Supporting the Individual
The heading says it all, really. We need to be supporting the individual more because for every Chester Bennington or Robin Williams, there are plenty of people dying from suicide every day. What are we doing to support them? No, scratch that…what are you doing to support them?
That’s right, I asked what you are doing to support them.
Because it’s personal.
It always was.
It always will be.
We need to be caring for the individuals, making our mental health campaigns long-term missions, not something that spikes every time a celebrity dies by suicide. How many more deaths will it take before we realise this? Realistically enough is enough, we need to make the change!
But we won’t, will we?
Because no one cares about the individual.
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