First, mental health education needs to be considered just as worthy as other kinds of education.
It just needs to happen. It needs to be a normal part of life.
Why? Because mental health is a normal part of life. It’s central to healthy functioning as an individual, a group, and a society.
Second, and this is still all too common, people shouldn’t happen to learn about mental only when something awful happens to themselves or loved ones.
That’s how it was for me when my mom went through a mental health crisis. I felt totally unprepared to deal with it, and I felt guilty that I was making the wrong decisions to support her. Shame happens when people don’t talk about the issue at hand.
But there’s no shame when loved ones help others get treatment for physical, and there should be no shame in doing the same for mental health.
For far too long, we have forced our mental health education into crisis windows, short and extremely stressful periods of time when receptivity is at its lowest. Instead, we need proper mental health education that gets to people when they are calm and relaxed enough to be able to take in new information. That’s how the brain works. The fact that society still doesn’t get this shows just how little we understand mental health.
Yet, there are no simple fixes for this. It’s going to take a structural shift to get more people learning about mental health at an early age. But we can do it. We have to do it.
As the many people who responded to my tweet illustrated with their stories, we can’t afford to have mental health be an afterthought.
It’s a big reason why I share my thoughts with you multiple times a week–to change this.
Thanks for being part of the change.
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