Silence is not always golden

Open up discussions about mental health

By Treena Mielke Black Press

Mental health awareness day has come and gone.

But, unfortunately, issues around mental health have not.

Mental health issues are like dark clouds that may suddenly, without warning hover over individuals, families and friends.

They are dark clouds that are filled with a despair that, many times, goes beyond understanding.

Depression has many varied causes. It can run in families, but it is not related to someone’s ethnic background, level of education, how much money he or she makes, or his or her relationship status. It can affect people from all walks of life and, although teens may struggle with depression, it can affect all ages.

Social Anxiety Disorder (also called Social Phobia) is another mental health issue that occurs when certain social or performance situations are avoided due to fear of being judged. In extreme situations the person with social anxiety disorder has difficulty living a normal life and feels completely alone, lonely and isolated.

Anxiety and depression are only two mental health issues. The list is endless and, often, very misunderstood.

However, in the big picture, perhaps understanding is not as important as accepting. People who suffer from illnesses such as cancer or multiple sclerosis or diabetes are not judged or criticized because they have had the misfortune of being sick.

Often a wall of silence shrouds mental illness. And, sometimes, people are critical and suggest the person who is suffering should simply pull themselves together.

So how does one break through this barrier? How do caring and compassionate individuals actually make a difference?

Being quick to listen and slow to speak seems like a reasonable suggestion that could be applied to any level of conversation. But, when someone is struggling with depression, anxiety or, even suicidal thoughts, being a good listener is crucial.

And, even though it is so easy to think ahead and try to fix the problem, it is far better to simply be there, to listen and to reflect on what the person is saying.

Listening without judging is a skill that may not be easy, but it is so important.

Mental health is a slippery slope and it can lead to dangerous consequences.

Of course, medication and professional help are crucial aides to help provide tools for individuals who are suffering from mental health issues.

But what about dealing with the stresses of everyday life? On the surface people with mental health issues appear to have it all together, to be able to cope, to be strong.

But, if the veneer they have surrounded themselves with should crack leaving their emotions raw and exposed, family and friends need to arm themselves not only with love and compassion, but with knowledge so they can support them and let them know they are not alone.

There is a wealth of information available on the Internet and there are groups and organizations that focus on mental health issues.

Being more open about mental health is important at any time of year.

And, one can be sure, that somewhere out there is someone who is struggling with an illness that is little understood and is not visible to the naked eye.

Being ready to not only talk, but more importantly, to listen could create a ripple effect that will truly make a difference.

Being a friend, not judging, showing kindness, listening and accepting does not require specialized education or training.

It simply requires paying attention, being aware, and being there!

That’s all any of us can do!

Just Posted

Hundreds turn out to pay respects for Stettler homicide victim

Come and go reception held for James (Jim) Hulkovich

A Look Back – Stettler Independent Archive Files

1978 - Paragon Place, the 41-unit self contained seniors residence in Stettler officially opens

Stettler Trade Show hailed a success

Nearly 3,100 people took in the 38th annual event held over the weekend of April 13-15

WATCH: Central Albertan receives award for aiding RCMP officer in arrest

Lonnie Amundson, rugby player, tackled a fleeing suspect to help ailing officer

WATCH: ‘Battle of the Badges’ event raises money for Humboldt Broncos

Red Deerians get together at charity hockey tournament April 20th at Servus Arena

Producer, DJ Avicii found dead at 28

Swedish-born artist Tim Bergling, was found in Muscat, Oman

Trudeau ends 3-country tour with global reputation, alliances intact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds footing on the world stage after China and India controversies

Leafs’ Matthews has top-selling jersey, edging Crosby, McDavid: NHL

Austin Matthews jersey sales top Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid

Victims grant may miss needy parents due to eligibility rules: report

Only 29 of 50 applicants between 2013 and 2017 received the grant across Canada, a federal report says

Three suspects charged with 38 crimes after Wetaskiwin carjacking

RCMP Rural Crime Reduction Project starts strong in Wetaskiwin

4-20: Pot activists continue their fight beyond legalization

Cannabis activists say there is still a lot to fight for beyond legalization

Comey memos: Trump talks of jailed journalists and ‘hookers’

A 15 page document written by former FBI Director James Comey about dealings with Trump is released to press

Most Read


Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.