It’s a ribbon that I’m wearing to show my support for Mental Health Awareness.
When I’m feeling depressed I’d call one my friends and ask him out for drinks. Slumped on the table I’d tell him that I feel really terrible. He’d ask me why. It’s not that I didn’t know why but I didn’t have the will to launch a grand lecture on how the chemical imbalance in my brain causes less serotonin cells to be released etc etc. So I’d just tell him that I’m depressed. He’d ask me why. I’d tell him I just am and I’d just continue to nurse my beer.
I can’t possibly blame my friend for not understanding. He probably thinks that depression is something that everyone goes through. If only he knows about clinical depression…
What about your employer? If you’d tell him that you have cancer he will probably say that he’s very sorry, you can take how many days off on paid leave and maybe the company can fork out some money for your medical expenses. But if you were to tell him that you’re feeling depressed and you can’t come into the office he’d probably say “Depressed my arse! If I don’t see your lazy behind in the office by 10 you’re fired!”
NGOs, policymakers, doctors, medical schools and the media have to work hand in hand to raise mental health awareness to the level where it ends the stigma of mental illnesses. It’s going to be a long and arduous task. But let us take the first step by wearing a green ribbon.