As we know by now, mental illness is highly complex in terms of how it can manifest, as well as develop. Considering that psychological health is influenced by numerous qualities including genetics, sensitive chemical balances, brain pathways, hormone fluctuations and other physiological factors, it’s easy to hypothesize that there is far more at play here than just serotonin – and science has recently confirmed this. Antidepressants, while effective for many, are not necessarily a cure-all when tackling the many variables concerning psychological conditions. While this revelation draws much-needed focus and attention to mental illness treatment and prevention, it also creates more questions around mental health and brain-related disease, even from those of us who are educated and work in healthcare. With all that said, it’s time to acknowledge and break down the biggest barrier of all when it comes to mental illness: silence. At AHCS, we champion mental and physical wellness, and consistently advocate for those who are most vulnerable. As a community care-specialized company, it’s important that we emanate these values into every facet of our business and client relationships, as this is as much a personal mission as it is a professional initiative.
To break through the wall of silence that inhibits our ability to understand and support one another, we must consider a most important fact – while nobody is immune to struggle, each of our struggles are unique and require outside empathy and compassion. In order to empathize and understand where someone is coming from, we must prioritize personal education and above all, communication. This is something that is majorly lacking in our silent society, and it hinders our capacity to connect on anything beyond the surface level. Humans were not meant to be solitary, and mental illness feeds on these kinds of disconnected social dynamics that we’ve become desensitized to in recent years. With more rapidly advancing connectivity-based technology than ever before, our social fulfillment is at an all-time low. It seems that the trend of suffering in silence has become the status quo. We must do better and challenge this way of existing – because simply put, silence can be lethal. And speaking up can literally save lives.
Let’s get talking:
- State your personal needs and seek help if and when your mental health is suffering. This is a non-negotiable if you want to prevent further declining health and more serious mental illness. Do not wait until it crosses the threshold of risking your physical safety. You do not need to be a certain level of sick to be deserving of support. If you have a family doctor, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for a referral to a mental health specialist. If you do not have a GP, you can also request this from a walk-in clinic physician.
- Name it – don’t shame it. Mental illness is not a badge of dishonour that is worn by the weak, and in no way is it a joke. It is serious, and it is important. Addressing your particular struggles makes you strong, brave and proactive for calling it what it is and advocating for yourself. In recent years, conditions like anxiety and depression have been progressively (and somewhat indirectly) deemed more acceptable – even trendy – to suffer from. We can’t forget that all mental illnesses deserve understanding, awareness, compassion and destigmatization.
- Keep communicating, educating, and seeking out like-minded people to make up your support network. Although it can be fatiguing to feel like it’s your sole responsibility to educate friends and family members who do not understand mental illness, it can also be a huge step in shifting the conversation and feel very validating and liberating. If you are met with invalidating comments, an unwillingness to learn, or unsupportive attitudes, don’t let that set you off your course. It’s okay to feel sad and disappointed when you are misunderstood by the ones you love most, but try not to let that determine your next steps forward.
- You know you better than anyone, you are valid, and there are people out there who are experiencing all the same things you are. If you can’t find support within your innermost circle, know that there is an abundance of support, acceptance and love online via Instagram, TikTok, Facebook groups, etc. Search for mental health-based content creators and find your friends and family.
From all of us at AHCS, we encourage you take some of your power back, keep the conversation going, and say NO to silence.