A lot of talk about mental health has been making the rounds recently – and that can only be a good thing.
Locally, and across the country, a champion among topics has been Clara’s Big Ride. Olympics athlete Clara Hughes was in New Glasgow last week on her cross-country cycling tour to raise awareness about mental health, and to remove the stigma that gets in the way of people finding help.
The Bell Let’s Talk Clara’s Big Ride and the subject it represents is long overdue. The encouragement to talk about this common and wide-ranging health issue – rather than shy away from it – could not be more welcome.
We would have to look at the long history of mental health and how it is regarded to understand why so many people have locked away the anguish and decided they should tough it out on their own. Perhaps it wasn’t a topic of polite conversation, or people felt emotional and mental problems weren’t instantly curable in the medical setting.
People have latched on to the idea that it’s ‘all in their head.’ Well, it is, but so is the pain of every disease. And most of them, fortunately, can be helped immensely with treatment.
At any rate, a stigma has existed. Hughes and many others, as witnessed in her many stops across the country, are realizing that staying silent or stoic or whatever isn’t the way to go. Many have stories to share, and the more the better, to see that people get help when needed.
In recent years, with this country wrapping up its involvement in the strife in Afghanistan, we’ve heard too many reports of soldiers coming home and, ultimately, committing suicide. We could politicize it all we want, but that sad reality is one more illustration of a health problem that can touch us all. Comrades of these departed soldiers have said, buddy, get in touch if you’re hurting.
The thing to realize is that a mental health problem is not a sign of weakness. Reaching out and talking about it is an act of braveness.