For the last 23 years I have been involved in the mental health field in a very specific focus. It is a focus that is often missing from our discussions of mental health and has a real contribution to make to those who are struggling and suffering. I want to share both my understanding of where mental health awareness is taking us and also how the focus of my work might contribute to moving further in that direction.
The Power of Mental Health Awareness
The focus on Mental health awareness over the past few years has pushed us to update and improve our understanding of mental health challenges in a number of important ways.
Challenging the Stigma
Increased awareness around this topic has highlighted how much fear and judgment existed, and still exists, around mental health issues. An increase in mental health awareness can point us towards a more neutral perspective and away from fear and judgment. This allows us to be more open and less reactive to mental health issues and to people’s struggles and suffering, including our own. We are able to be less frightened to talk about it. When we look in this more open direction, we can be more understanding, more caring and more sensitive to the challenges of others and to the challenges we might face ourselves.
When you see the additional suffering that comes from experiencing mental struggles in a closed and judgmental world, where you might feel there is something wrong with you, this increase in awareness and understanding seems profoundly important and a vital step to seeing, understanding, and supporting people when they are dealing with mental health issues.
This is a social and cultural issue but also a personal one. We can all challenge ourselves to not get stuck in fear and judgment and look to be more open and curious to understand mental health issues and challenges. If we take this on, we could live in a more open, supportive, and less judgmental environment. That is a powerful potential to have in our hands and all it takes is not living by the fearful and judgmental thoughts we have about mental health issues.
The Power of Mental Health
Having worked in the mental health field for the last 23 years, I have spent ten years as a registered counsellor, and I have been a trainer and educator the whole time. My focus has not been mental health diagnosis. My focus has been on the innate human potential for clarity and well-being. Over the last 23 years I have worked with thousands of people in all kinds of circumstances with a focus on their inalienable potential for clarity and emotional well-being. Over that time, I have been consistently surprised how present and available that potential is and how accessible it has been for people. It has also been an education to see what a difference it makes for people in all areas of their life when they discover this potential for themselves. Based on these experiences I feel that a bigger focus on, and interest in, this potential could make a significant contribution to our mental health awareness and the discussions we have around mental health.
From my perspective this underlying potential of the mind is missing from most of our discussions around mental health and mental health awareness. I think it is an important part of fully understanding mental health and I truly believe that adding an interest in our potential for more clarity and well-being can only expand our mental health awareness. I could not predict how it will contribute to the discussions we have and the learning we might gain from this focus. We will have to discover that. It is a potential we will need to explore, and I encourage us all to take an interest in doing that. I have found it personally enlightening and endlessly hopeful.