Mental Health: What Does Society’s Approach To Mental Health Problems Have In Common With Child Abuse?
For a long time, mental and emotional problems were typically overlooked, and this has changed in recent years. A lot of money is now being spent to help people who are suffering in this way.
A Mixed Response
Still, this is not to say that everyone is happy with what is taking place; there are people who are still not getting the help that they need. Along with this, there are people who are getting help but it is not having the desired effect.
One way of looking at all this would be to say that this is just the beginning and as time passes, it will gradually improve. Let face it, it’s as not as if anything changes overnight - it takes time.
From One Extreme to Another
When someone starts something for the first time, they can end up becoming obsessed with it. There would then have been a time when what they were doing didn’t cross their mind and now this has changed.
In the same way, there was a time when society didn’t think about mental and emotional problems and now this has also changed. And while it might not be accurate to say that society is now obsessed with these kinds of problems, there is evidence to suggest that it has gone too far.
The New Normal
For example, if someone experienced anxiety or depression from time to time and they were to reach out for help, they could be told that this is just part of life. At the same time, they could end up being told that they have ‘mental health’ problems.
When this takes place, it could be said that what it means to be human is being redefined. Ultimately, there is not going to be anything wrong with them, but they will be treated as though this is not the case.
A Fine Line
What this shows is that there is a fine line between helping someone and causing them harm. The therapist/mental health professional might have good intentions, but that doesn’t mean that they are having a positive effect.
As Samuel Johnson ounce said, “Hell is paved with good intentions.” Therefore, just because someone believes that they are having a positive effect, it is doesn’t mean that they are.
So, while there are going to be people out there who have legitimate problems, there are going to be others who don’t. But due to being misdiagnosed, for instance, they can come to believe that there is something wrong with them.
When in reality, they are simply experiencing things that just about every other person on the planet experiences. And, if they were to go back a few thousand years, it is unlikely to be any different.
Life Has Changed
Now, if someone believes that human beings only experience anxiety and depression if they have mental health problems, they could say that they no longer need to experience life in this way. This could show that they believe that human beings should feel good all the time.
Not only would this lead to a very shallow existence, it would also cause human beings to be out of balance. Being able to experience both sides of the emotional spectrum is what gives life meaning.
Clearly, if one experience a lot of anxiety it is going to be a challenge for them to function; but if they could no longer experience anxiety, their life is not necessarily going to be any better. Through being able to experience anxiety, it will allow them to prepare for future events and to avoid going to places that might put their life at risk, for instance.
Depression is no different in this regard, as when someone suffers from depression their life can be unbearable. And at the same time, when someone has the ability to lower their mood, it can give them the ability to solve complex problems.
Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water
To say that these emotional experiences are bad can be seen as what happens when someone engages in black and white thinking. This takes less energy, but it can cause someone to miss out on a lot of valuable information.
Another part of society’s approach to mental health problems is that the individual will often be seen as the one with the problem. It is then going to be as though this person is separate from their environment.
Business as Usual
And, through focusing on the individual, there is then no reason for society as a whole to change. Whereas in reality, this person is simply a product of their environment and if they have problems, it shows that something isn’t right.
What adds weight to this is that it’s not just a handful of people who have mental problems; this is something that affects thousands and thousands of people. Through having this approach, there is no reason for the people at the top to actually deal with the real problems.
This is then similar to what happens when a child is playing up at home or at school, for instance. The child’s parents can believe that the child is the one with the problem, and end up taking them to see a psychologist.
Perhaps the child does have a problem, but then again, this child could just be a reflection of what is taking place in their family system. When the child is at home, they could be getting abused and/or neglected, and this means that their behaviour could simply be a cry for help.
What this emphasises is how important it is to look at the big picture, as this will make it easier to understand what is going on. From there, something can actually be done about what is taking place.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.