Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today is a dual post and it’s fitting that they go together.
‘Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality’. This is the 2021 theme for World Mental Health Day. I think it’s essential because we absolutely need the same level of health services across the board. This means every country, every civilization, every pocket of population near and far from main cities. It’s a daunting feat; resources and funding can be difficult to come by and the level of importance placed on mental health is highly discrepant. We need global action and initiatives, access for everyone no matter what our ‘status’ be it age, ethnicity, tax bracket, etc.
Well-timed with Thanksgiving – though I believe gratitude should be an ongoing practice – I’m tremendously grateful for the progress regarding mental health. It wasn’t all too long ago where those with mental illness were shut away as outcasts and subjected to inhuman living conditions. (Not to mention the terrible medical experimentation.) We have come a long way from there but there is still much distance to go.
Experiencing mental illness in this day and age meant that I did have access to help, I was most often taken seriously and I was most often treated with respect. I’ve been accommodated at work and at school to make up for certain disadvantages. Though I have experienced prejudice, discrimination, insensitivity and a lack of understanding, I am extremely fortunate. There are people suffering who have nowhere to turn. Some live in cultures where mental health struggles are seen as undignified, unmanly or disregarded. Some can’t ever share how they’re feeling. Some have no access to help either from a lack of local infrastructure or due to unaffordable services. Mental illness is a huge disadvantage, but the biggest disadvantage is for those who have no means or access to countering those disadvantages and improving their quality of life. This is something that must definitely change!
Mental health is a priority, not a luxury. It is the very foundation upon which everything else is dependent and I hope the global community will realize this and act accordingly. If the link between mental health and everything else is diminished, I have a straightforward way of describing it for the sake of awareness.
This is a far from exhaustive list of the repercussions of poor mental health:
- Difficulty holding down a job to make money and support oneself and their family.
- Difficulty pursuing education to become gainful employed.
- Difficulty taking care of ones’ physical health.
- Physical symptoms of mental illness that can become chronic disease.
- Stress induced medical conditions.
- Substance abuse that impacts much of the above.
- Difficulty maintaining relationships, parenting, etc.
- Lower life expectancy.
- Lower quality of life.
- Suffering experienced by relatives, partners and friends of those with mental illness.
- Less able to contribute to society.
This list is endless and serves just as a reminder of how incredibly impactful mental health really is. Every area of life is touched and not just of the person in question.
What I’m Thankful For:
I’d now like to take a moment to mention what I’m grateful for.
I am above all grateful for my family; my incredible parents and fiancé. This also includes our wonderful Piko and Mia my miracle Yorkie. I am extremely grateful for my blog and the opportunity it provides to help others and give me a main purpose and goal in life. I tremendously appreciate every inch of progress I’ve made in recovery and how much the quality of my life and my family’s life has improved as a result. I’m grateful for my job, boss and coworkers and the semesters I’ve completed in school. (Especially after such a rough time.) I am grateful for where I get to live, my car, the roof over my head, the food and water I have access too and all the privileges involved in living in Canada. I’m grateful for my happy memories and experiences and all of the things that have taught me even though they were often learned through a lot of pain. I am grateful for everyone who had supported and believed in me, and for you, my readers and followers who have made me feel like my voice and thoughts matter. I’m grateful to be meeting so many people online who care about mental health and are doing what they can to help in this immense cause.
Would you like to share some things you’re grateful for? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!