For mental health week, I thought I’d write a few words about how I think we can help remove the stigma surrounding mental health and disabilities in the world in which we live. It is not going to be a rant but just a few short suggestions for you to try to begin to understand and perhaps start to change your mind about what you know about mental health and disabilities. Maybe some of you won’t be interested in reading it but then I ask you why not? Why would such a blog title put you off? I’m not affected you say? I say as long as anyone in this world is affected then we are all affected.
Education! Education is the key to many problems we face in this world, it is not the only solution but it goes a long way in producing the right results. Give someone an education and you might help them find the solution to their problems. ( I say might, because you can not control what someone else does with that education nor can you help them to see that treating someone else with the dignity, respect and kindness we all deserve is the right and just thing to do).
Getting yourself and your loved ones informed and educated, this alone can reduce the fear which is always behind every stigma. With fear, we can not let love grow for our fellow human beings nor can we accept that we are each unique and loved just as we are. With fear comes hatred and bigotry instead. We fear what we don’t understand in life. Behind this fear is really a very uneducated and fearful child who believes that they themselves will be hated, abused and stigmatised by others for seeing and treating everyone in this world as they truly should be – with love, respect, kindness and dignity. In explaining this, I do not for once condone or try to mitigate what others do in the name of stigma, fear, bigotry or whatever you would like to call it. People should take responsibility for their actions and be held accountable for their actions.
So how can you get this education and teach our children and others?
- Read what others have written – I’m not just talking about the likes of my blog alone here, but what people who have disabilities and mental health difficulties write themselves. Get to know what they have to say, think and how they feel. Begin to learn something every day you do not understand, Yet!
- Get involved – participate in groups and support groups that help and inform those with disabilities and mental health like #ablehour #MHchat #PNDDaddies #PNDHour and #MentalHealthHourThere are loads of groups and charities needing your help and support around the country you live in.
- Support the introduction of legislation to improve and recognise the legal rights of others such as The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD)BUT Ireland has not ratified this yet! We have to ask ourselves why not?
These are but a few ways in which to get started in educating yourself and others about Mental Health and Disabilities. It is a small step in the right direction to reduce and wipe out completely any stigmas we encounter as human beings. We can and should learn to live with one another on this planet we call home with respect, kindness, love and dignity for all.