Due to the pandemic, more and more Singaporeans are seeking help regarding their mental health issues. Some of the reasons being, they are anxious and worried about their well-being, their jobs and the safety of their loved ones. It was reported that those with pre-existing mental health conditions experienced more psychological distress during that time.
Singapore is still battling the stigma surrounding the topic of mental illness, as there are still people who see this topic as taboo. However, it is still a topic that we need to address. According to TODAY, a few Singaporeans admitted that they do not know what to do when they find themselves needing to care for an emotionally distressed friend because they fear making the situation worse if they say something wrong.
This is one of the reasons why we should talk more about mental health — so that people are aware of the severity of the issue and know how to address it.
5 Reasons why you should talk about mental health
1) Remove the stigma
Why do people choose not to talk about mental health when mental health is just as important as physical health? Many people see the topic of mental health negatively — they see it as taboo. And this stigma that the public has towards mental health can lead to discrimination.
When people who are experiencing mental health are told to “get over it” or are avoided by the masses because they are deemed unstable, violent or dangerous, how are they supposed to recover and seek treatment? When we normalise talking about mental health and educate ourselves on the issue, we can encourage more people to seek help and open up about their struggles. Fortunately, experts have deemed that the public in Singapore is starting to be more accepting of the topic.
2) To educate yourself and others
We are all aware that there are different types of physical illnesses, some are minor and some are major. And we do not categorise all physical illnesses under one category, “physical illness”. Instead, we call each illness by name, be it a cold, a cough or a backache. The same goes for mental illnesses too — there are many types of mental illnesses with different symptoms and behaviours. When we educate ourselves and educate others on the different types of mental illness, we get to eliminate the misconceptions or stigma that surrounds the topic.
3) Learn how to approach mental health issues
Do not say anything insensitive to someone who is struggling with mental health conditions. You need to be more conscious of the way you describe or address the issue. Try to remember these tips — do not oversimplify their feelings by saying “cheer up!”, do not express disbelief, do not dismiss their pain and do not blame them. What you can do is to show empathy, be understanding, let them know that you care and offer your help. If you find your friends or family members struggling with mental health, offer a listening ear and do not be hesitant to talk about mental health. If you are hesitant, that will only add to the notion that mental health is a taboo topic.
4) Create awareness on the growing cases of mental health
As mentioned before, the pandemic has led to an increase in mental health issues in Singapore based on the number of people seeking help. And seeing how more and more people are starting to seek help, it is important to showcase that those struggling with mental health are not alone and that they, too, can open up about their struggles and seek treatment. We can create awareness on the topic surrounding mental health by talking more about it — share your experience, ask people how they are coping and support them with kind words.
5) Encourage more people to seek treatment
Since the topic of mental health is seen as taboo, many people are still wary of seeking treatment. And this might, in turn, lead to an even worse scenario. To avoid any unwanted situations, we need to normalise talking about mental health so that more and more people are comfortable seeking treatment. Just like how it is normal for us to talk to our close friends and family about seeing a doctor when we have the flu, we should also normalise opening up about seeing a therapist.
Mental health should no longer be considered taboo. In this pandemic-stricken world, people might need a person that they can open up to. This is why we need to create an environment that is safe for anyone to talk about their mental health and encourage them to seek treatment. And seeing how May is Mental Health Awareness Month, now is the perfect time for us to talk about topics surrounding mental health!
Remember that just like your physical health, your mental health, too, should not be an afterthought. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, be sure to take a little breather and have a sip of our Bohae Bokbunja wine. Get our delicious and healthy Bokbunja wine here.