How to communicate about mental health

How do we talk about mental distress? How does our culture deal with topics of mental health? Our emotions are crucial for our functioning in the world. Therefore we should address this topic more often.

However, we are as a culture not knowledgeable in this area. We should be encouraging wider conversations about these topics.

PR campaigns about mental health are certainly worthy of praise. However, it is hard for attitudes about mental distress that have been built across centuries to be fully reached in this manner.

Namely, the story surrounding the area of mental health is filled with culturological shame. It is shamelful, in some cultures even more so than in others, to admit not being well, needing help, needing expert help. It is shameful to have psychological problems – since this is a non-standardized type of social experience.

This kind of experience is not sufficiently understood on a wider level. It is feared instead, spurring unconscious fears.

It can be even found among experts in the field of mental health that fears from certain phenomena such as psychosis, is felt. This kind of reaction towards such phenomena is often fueled by one’s own uncsoncious fear, as well as with not-being-familiar with this kind of experience.

In this kind of situation it is thus not enough to just re-frame mental distress as something positive.

It requires different kind of strategy to unlearn what is thought about mental health and learn another approch.

It requires re-socializing in ways we think about mental health.

It further requires greater efforts put into our understanding of mental health issues, their emergence and resilience when faced with them.

So let’s start today.