This negative stigma in society surrounding Mental Health and those suffering form a mental illness acts as a bar to sufferers from speaking out and seeking help. This stigma comes form a lack of understanding and inaccurate and extravagant portrayals of mental ill people.s.
As you can see from the image on this article, mental illness has been brought to the forefront of our minds again but from the cinematic universe. The recent release of the Joker played by Joaquin Phoenix has brought about many questions relating to mental health and the role society plays.
Joaquin’s acting was amazing and the film is definitely a must see however even though the film highlights how important it is for society to be aware of mental illness and how to help those suffering, the film does depict an unhealthy stereotype of how everyone with a mental illness is “’mad”. It is showing an extreme version of mental health and it is important to remember that not everyone suffering form a mental illness is going to go on to be “the Joker”.
People with a mental illness are very rarely dangerous especially when receiving appropriate treatment and support.
In Australia in any given year around 1 million Australian adults suffer from depression and over 2 million from anxiety.
October is Mental Health Month which aims to bring awareness to mental illness in our society and how we can help those that are experiencing mental illness. The R U Ok campaign have many recommendations on how we can help those around us and help minimise the stigma on mental health.
FIRST: Are you okay?
This isn’t a question to the person you are wanting to help but to yourself. Firstly, ask this question to yourself before someone else. To be able to help someone you need to be in a good mental state. If you feel you too are struggling maybe it is time you sought some help. If you feel you are okay then ask the person the same question you think is struggling.
SECOND: Listen with an open mind
Listen to what your friend has to say. We know you want to help but being a good listener is key and not being judgmental. It is very hard to open up to someone so take the moment as a privilege and listen to what your friend has to say.
THIRD: Encourage Action
Encourage your friend to seek help. Offer your support and ask them how you can help and if they have thought of seeking help in the past. Maybe they can look to speaking with their GP and being referred to a psychologist. You could also give personal advice on your own experience on how you sought help.
FOURTH: Check in on them
Put a reminder on your phone to check in on them. Send them a message that you’re thinking of them and ask them how they’re going. It is always nice to know that someone cares.
Let’s stop encouraging our friends to just “put on a happy face’’ but to go and seek help. There is no shame in not being okay.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
Headspace: 1800 650 890
Mensline Australia: 1300 78 99 78