You Are Not Alone
Written by: Josephine Power-Anastasiou
YOU ARE NOT ALONE…
Society is harsh on many people. In a storm of chaos, where things are uncertain, many
people, men in particular, are told to be strong. All around us, men are buffeted by unwritten
and out of date opinions, forcing them to lock up their feelings and keep everything inside.
This culture is prolific these days, reinforced by insistent media, always repeating the same
messages that men must be strong and little else. If you are not strong, if you aren’t the head
of your family and if you allow yourself to express your emotions, then you are regularly
considered not good enough.
If a man fails to be strong and emotionless, then he is often disregarded, through no real fault
of their own. And getting help becomes a monumental task. According to the World Health
Organization, less than half of people with depression actively receive treatment. Instead
people, men in particular, hold everything in, suffering in silence, unintentionally allowing
one’s mental health to worsen over time.
What makes matters worse is a world-wide stigma on mental health in general. Seeking help
is considered a weakness, something to be avoided at all costs. It is difficult to move past this
stigma, especially as it leeches into your thoughts and makes you feel unworthy of help. One
will often struggle to accept that they need assistance. However, you are allowed to be sad,
and your opinions and feelings are genuine.
However, it is easy to still be judged by society at large. There is a misunderstanding that
mental health will sort itself out, that mental health is lesser than other types of health. It is a
given at this point that mental health is woefully underfunded. According to the WHO, “Less
than US$2 per person is spent on mental health services each year”, an incredibly tiny
amount compared to other health-related issues.
Pushing past this stigma is incredibly difficult. But the very first step is to allow yourself to
seek help. After all, if we do not treat our mental health, we also ignore physical health as
well. However, accepting that you need help is not a sign of weakness – it’s actually the
opposite, having the courage to step forward and speak to someone, to open ourselves up and
allow us the chance to better ourselves.
No matter what your problems are, it is important to seek help, to speak to someone and start
moving forwards. Mental health is vital to our lives, and seeking help is the first step towards
a brighter life.
WHO “Depression: let’s talk campaign calls for end to mental health stigma, WHO, April
2017, available at https://www.who.int/westernpacific/news/item/07-04-2017-who-depression-let-s-talk-campaign-calls-for-end-to-mental-health-stigma