A friend of mine recently began working for the mental wellness company Amare Global and during our celebratory drinks when we found out she’d got the job, we were discussing what has been the biggest change in attitudes globally that we have seen in our lives and that is towards mental health. for many years mental health was scoffed at and there was a huge lack of respect and empathy given to those who suffered from mental health conditions and those who suffered from poor mental wellbeing. Over the last 20 years however there has been a seismic shift in the approach and the attitudes towards mental health, and here is what I believe are the factors which have made it happen.
Very often society is heavily influenced by important and famous individuals and we have seen this in trends and in fashion. We have also seen in the last 2 decades many high profile people open up about their own struggles with mental health, and this has inspired members of the public to in turn open up about what they have been going through. Sometimes you just need someone to show you that what you are going through is ok, and that is what has happened on numerous occasions in the last 20 years.
Sadly it often takes tragedies to take place before people wake up to issues which exist and we have also seen this with a spate of suicides which have rocked people. This has happened with members of the public and it has also happened with high profile celebrities who seemingly have it all. Look at the cases of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, grown men with riches, fame and loving families, who had mental diseases which overcame them. When this happens people are shocked, they want to know why and they want to find solutions. Despite the tragedies which we have seen, there has been good that has come from them as a result.
It may have taken a while but governments have finally woken up to the importance of mental health conditions and they have made a number of law changes which have massively helped those with issues. A great complaint which many had in the past was the way in which they were treated in the workplace, with physical health being greatly prioritized over mental health issues. The fact of the matter is that these ailments should be treated exactly the same and mental health sufferers shouldn’t have had to use vacation days to get some help, they should have been supported by their employer. As the law has changed so too has the attitude of many employers and staff, who now realize the severity of mental health conditions.
It is important that we keep this going and that people continue to speak with their friends and family about mental health and their own mental wellbeing. We have made big steps, but there is still a long way to go.