Mental Health in the UK and the Stereotypes Today
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
No one really talks on this, but I personally feel like we should, so I'm going to.
I'm not here to rant about how there hasn't been a radical improvement in the standards of mental health awareness in the past thirty years, that would be a blatant lie. With the development of CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) in 1995 the NHS have devoted a large budget to addressing mental and behavioural issues of not only young minds, but adult ones too. The medical world have put the notice out that it's actually more than ok to feel down, it's not abnormal, it's accepted. However, when you put mental health into our culture, within the macho music scene and by the side of the ideal gender stereotypes, you often find that mental health and display of emotions are scrutinised; and what's ironic is that it's by the young minds themselves.
This is all fitting into my prior article; in my opinion this issue is all down to long-lasting social standards, which seems to be a reoccurring theme. Young men, in order to be 'hard', are meant to keep the display of their emotions concealed; however, women are seen to be more flamboyant and expressive. So, after tackling the base, I want to move onto a few other points.
Why don't we talk about this? Isn't it funny how we, as the younger generation who are setting up the future, are talking about this less than our government? I find it odd, but I'm guilty of this myself. Not only is it that we sometimes associate talking of our mental wellbeing to weakness, but am I the only one who finds not talking about things way easier? I think not. It's more convenient to keep things to ourselves and charge on as opposed to letting people know and having them look at us like walking victims.
But, I know myself, this is not helpful, as much as we may want to avoid having an emotional discussion at all costs. I like to see myself as a sink, (weird at first I know know but read the rest of it), with a dripping tap above me. The dripping water represents my emotions slowly building within myself, and then what happens is the water level builds and builds, and then I can't cope anymore, and then the sink overflows. I cry, can't handle things, and after letting everything build up thinking that I'm better doing that, I end up being worse off. I'm sure that 50% or more of you reading this are just like me, and we need to change; what I have come to realise is that we are only hurting ourselves!
Some could also say that the emotional restraint is due to their parents, and their parents would say that hardships are just a piece of life, and, in our terms we move! At the end of the day, those of us who have parents who understand, and want to address our wellbeing without neglecting it at first, are totally blessed. Feeling safe in your own home is the largest blessing that we never notice, because that is your sanctuary, the place you belong no matter what. I used to take it for granted, admittedly.
I spoke to my mum about her own upbringing, and she told me all about my Lita (my grandmother) and how things went when she was growing up. My Lita was tough, you had a horrifically rough day but you got up and got on with it, there was NO SULKING. Sulking? Myth. I've never had more respect for someone after I heard the stories from the South American household, that were commonly heard tales too, and this leads me onto my next point.
We are the first generation to accept and raise awareness when it comes to mental health, we embrace it, but seventy years ago that was not the case. For example: Alan Turing committed suicide in 1954. His depression, due to the lack of inclusivity within our society, skyrocketed, the man who contributed to the saving of our society. That was 65 years ago; your grandparents were alive, maybe your parents too. This was recent. It's recorded that between 1981 and 2019 the suicide rates in the UK have fallen; however, Men have always obtained a higher suicide rate as opposed to women; Male suicides have counted for roughly three quarters of nation-wide suicides since the mid 90s.
To me, that says we all need to talk more, but we should focus on the fact that men hurt too. Men face challenges too.
Men feel lonely too.
Men are abused too.
Men are judged too
Men are capable of self-harm too.
Men have mental health issues too.
I personally hate this stereotype that says that women, although we experience hardship, are the gender who prominently feel pain. IT'S NOT TRUE, DO THE STATISTICS NOT TELL YOU THAT? I feel an anger inside of me writing this, it's such a shame that as a community we still hold this stereotype in our minds.
We are the new generation, we NEED to change.
This stereotype is killing people; Alan Turing was said to have committed suicide due to the actions of the government just before his 42nd birthday, after accepting chemical castration treatment as an alternative to going to prison for being gay; his struggle was in pure silence. What part of that sentence sounds remotely acceptable? None of it.
As a generation, I believe we can change, but we are yet too. If you take a look at the personas within music scene of the UK, of whom many young people idolise, the lack of expression that details personal emotion and difficulty is shockingly low.
This is what I want to say: if you have a platform that holds that much influence and power, then amongst everything else that gets spoken about, talk about the important things; just like the fact that it's ok not to feel fine, its ok to be under strain and stress, its ok to feel like you're going under, but push people to talk.
Idols need to spread the appropriate, important message; I'm not going to respect anyone anymore based on their bodycount, the weight of their chain, or the number of times they've put people in their place, and although a small number of people will, the rest of us (although enjoying the produce mainly) sit back and hopelessly sigh.
You know who I will respect? The person who uses their influence and says "You know what? If you're feeling like shit then tell someone, don't bottle it up and let yourself sink under pressure. No one will judge you for going through difficulty because we all do."
That is the person who I will respect, and the people who wouldn't respect them will most definitely grow to respect them, because they will see that as a community we have a problem with talking, and the day will come where all they want to do is to talk about it, but they won't be able to bring themselves to do so.
Even by just sending the message out on social media, you bring that person a step closer to the light. That person won't feel alienated, especially because one of their idols knows what they're going through.
Rappers, instagram stars, whoever, they're just doing their jobs at the end of the day, but if they really want to touch the hearts of the people, talking about real life problems that we can ALL relate to will go a much longer way than talking about how girls never used to give them their snapchats and now they do; sorry not sorry, I said it.
So, I conclude this article by saying that no one reading this is alone. A) because I am willing to talk to anyone at all and I would love to tell you that I appreciate you, and B) because there are so many people around you (who you may not yet realise are there) who, with open arms, will support you to the end. I will happily tell you all of this now, I will support you till the end, you've got this, you're an incredible person inside and out and although we make mistakes, we move!
I never want anyone to feel low, just the thought of it makes me want to find you and hug you till the days end, not to be cringe but it really does. I wrote this today because I feel like as a community we need to hear this, and if other people won't say it then I most definitely will, even though I don't have a big platform or following, but as trusty Tesco always says, 'Every Little Helps'.
I mean this, from the bottom of my heart, if anyone reading this is struggling then send me a DM or an email immediately; no one deserves to go through things alone, and I often find that talking to people you don't really know is much easier. I'm always here with open arms, truly.
So, on this really rainy Friday night, I want to wish everyone a brilliant evening. I hope that you all enjoyed this article, I really do mean every word. I hope that this can shine a light for any of you who are in a darker place at the moment, the clouds will clear though, I promise you.
I hope that I was Positively Unhelpful
NUMBERS FOR ANYONE IN NEED
Samaritans: Call 116 123 - https://www.samaritans.org/
Young Minds: Text 85258 - https://youngminds.org.uk/
Papyrus: Call 0800 068 4141 - https://papyrus-uk.org/hopelineuk/