Mental Health Matters!

The conversation around mental health is growing, there has been a seismic shift in how institutions, communities and the individual approach the topic of mental health. It appears that now more than ever this conversation is needed, as a study from researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of Queensland concluded that one out of every two people in the world will develop a mental health disorder in their lifetime. The study encompassed over 29 countries from varying degrees of socio-economic backgrounds. So, how do we combat this?

The individual experience of mental health has undoubted commonalities, such as feelings of depression, anxiety, trauma, however the development or causes of mental health are very much individualistic. This often makes the onset of mental health difficult to talk about because no one else has experienced the individual’s exact journey to feeling this way. Here at Tales to Inspire we endeavour to celebrate that journey in an attempt to show others that struggle, pain and adversity are part of life so much as mental health is part of modern day living now. 

Our ambassador, Pete Barty, shared his mental health journey with us. He advocates the use of therapy as a therapist himself as well as the role of the community. We are social creatures, and 

‘right now there has been a diminishment of the community role, in past societies the community has played a pivotal role in the individual’s wellbeing.’ 

The definition of community has also taken on new connotations in modern society. Community can be found with peers, in your local area, in your education setting and, more recently, online. The rise of online communities has arguably been one of the major catalysts to why there has been a rise in the conversation about mental health. Communities, such as Tales to Inspire, have found ways to engage and share with people across the world. This modern way of creating social links has undoubtedly had a positive effect on human connectedness and openness. Our ambassador, Monique Casey, explained how she had never really found true comfort in those around her until she found friends in the online gaming world. 

‘I wanted to meet new people, so I turned to the online gaming community to meet others with similar interests. They didn’t know anything about me or my past and I discovered that many of them enjoyed the same sort of things as me.’  

This is a great way to show that online communities are helping those struggling with their mental health. However, online communities have come under scrutiny due to advertising unhealthy mindsets, false information and some posing as individuals to take advantage of those within the community. There is a social media trend right now of neurodivergent content creators, particularly on TikTok. The vastness of online communities means that it is more likely that if you share your past experiences, you will find others who have had similar circumstances, thus it helps to talk to them about what is going on. While this trend has helped many people to understand their self, and has led to many people self-diagnosing their neurodivergent condition, it has also meant that many people are closing themselves into an online community rather than speaking out to the people around them. 

This disconnect with the real world has undeniable implications on our mental health and I believe this is a topic connected to mental health that must be talked about. As mentioned, the mental health journey is often individualistic but if we do get the chance to find others who can help, it should be celebrated. However, we must remember that we are human beings who need to be. Let’s allow ourselves to explore, as Pete said, 

‘in moments of exploration, of new experience, we find more out about ourselves.’

So, now more than ever, let’s get together and talk. Mental health is part of life now, the conversation is everywhere, whether we like it or not. But, what I hope we can all agree on is that, we must talk. Whether that be to a therapist, your peers, family, or in a safe online space, let’s bring back the role of community to help everyone get through this. 

This article was written by Megan Morris

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