Image result for Faking Mental HealthI really wanted to come up with something to talk about regarding Valentines Day given the fact that this is February, but something keeps sitting in the back of my mind that I feel like I need to talk about. Mental Health. I have noticed over the years that there seems to be 3 views of what mental health is. 1) The person just needs to get over it and they will be fine, 2) We don’t talk about mental health because if we do, then it is real, and 3) Mental health is just like any other malfunction of the body. I want to take a second and talk about the first view.
I grew up in a family where the not so unspoken rule was that if you are sick, get up, get going, and you will feel better. And it really works in a lot of cases. We are talking cold/flu/stomach ache sick. Yes, everybody needs to stay at home some days, but sometimes you need to just get up and get moving and all of a sudden you forget that you were sick in the first place.
I sat in a meeting this week where we were talking about a young woman who had depression. We were trying to figure out what we, as people who knew and cared about her, along with this client were going to do to help her feel like she could get some traction in her world. As I sat there, I noticed one of the people in the room sitting a bit back from the table, arms folded with a look on her face like someone had shoved a piece of rotting meat under her nose. I asked her what her opinion of the matter was. She said, “You all realize what you are doing right, You are sitting here talking about her like ‘Oh, the poor baby. What are we going to do because she is so helpless,’ You guys are doing nothing more than encouraging her to sit in her room and cry about it. Get over it! Get out of your room, stop sulking and you will be fine”. She then stood up and walked out of the room. I had to use all of my good counselling skills not to pick up a something large and blunt and throw it at her as she left.
What this woman didn’t understand is that sometimes depression is the way that we look at things and we need help understanding how our thinking is affecting us. Other times it is a chemical imbalance that needs medication and counselling to help overcome. Depression can also come from experiencing things in life that are difficult and we all need time to work through it. How long, It is different for every person and so we cannot force people to “get over it”. A general rule of thumb around grief is that after 2 years, it can be considered a problem. A great resource for people dealing depression can be found at .
You have to understand something about mental health. Of all of the people I have worked with (and I would suggest that most counsellors would agree with this), I would suggest that 99% of the people are not faking it. They are not just acting this way for attention. They truly need help, not criticism. Diagnoses are real.
Mental health is one of those things that needs a bunch of people standing on the sidelines encouraging and cheerleading. It does NOT need people standing around saying “get over it.”

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