10th OCTOBER 2020
BREAKING DOWN THE MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA
Darcy, like all people, has had struggles with mental health throughout the entirety of his life.
For Darcy, mental health has been something that he has dealt with within himself, while also being with and supporting people during their own mental health problems. Having spent the last half of a decade in China, Darcy has been able to reflect on mental health representation and treatment within Australia in comparison to that of the Asian nation he has called home.
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, he identifies this as his first challenge with his own mental health. Moderate depressive episodes and social anxiety, spurred by his own perceived failures as he grappled with the male dominated competitive spaces, he found himself in.
This is not the first time Darcy highlights the idea of male dominated spaces and ideal male standards. A dangerous concept for the mental health of all men. When really, what is the ideal man?
For fourteen months Darcy cared for and helped a close friend through their suicidal episode. Fortunately, they eventually made a full recovery. This exposed Darcy to the day to day difficulties that people are facing, but Darcy also experienced his struggles from this, a compassion fatigue settled within him. Noting that it is important to ensure that even when caring for another, you must ensure that your own mental and physical health are maintained as this will allow you to provide better care as well.
During these times, Darcy discovered the many ways that we, friends, family and colleagues can assist people within our lives, while maintaining our own health as well. For Darcy, the most important step he took during these fourteen months was to involve others in the healing process of the person. Transparency and discussion were essential in assisting Darcy’s friend through the struggles that were faced.
Communication with people around those that are struggling (such as family and friends), Darcy asserts, is essential. For Darcy, he feels that secrecy around severe depression and suicidal thoughts can have devastating effects. How many times have you heard people say: “I didn’t even know anything was wrong” – “I wish I could’ve done something to help”.
How important it is to check on the people around us, for many people suffering they don’t want to bother people with their problems. These problems though are no burden, they are legitimate.
People care about you, people love you, people will help you. It is so important to take those steps for help. In Darcy’s experience, there could have been a very different outcome without the inclusion of caretakers and professional mental health workers.