Is society mentally unhealthy?
Posted Thursday 19 April 2012
Helen blogs about the "heaving ocean" of depression and asks why whether we should be more concerned about the mental health of society.
How did I get here? After dipping my toes in the ocean of depression in my early twenties, 20 years later I plunged head first, deep into the middle of the ocean. I was lost, trapped and struggling to stay afloat.
The one thing that kept me going was my quest to discover who I was and discover the truth. I dodged the killer whales, tackled shark infested waters, avoided scores of poisonous jellyfish on my journey and had the shores of 'normality' in my sights. However, in my search for the truth, the approaching shoreline became more problematic than the heaving ocean.
If we look at some characteristics of a mentally healthy individual, we would hopefully see someone who is caring, sharing, empathic, loving, non-judgemental, trustworthy, honest and open. (In my experience people with 'mental illness' display many of these characteristics.)
However, let’s very briefly look at how general society displays these mentally healthy qualities:
How does society treat vulnerable/minority groups? Cutbacks in the NHS, welfare, provisions for the elderly, education and social services to name a few – don’t forget that society chooses its governing bodies (or thinks it does).
Without agenda or motivation, when does anyone remember a business just giving something away, just shutting up shop for the day, just doing something for its community – just because? Businesses/people very rarely do something without expecting anything in return, even if it’s just a pat on the back.
Empathic and non-judgemental
If society had the ability to empathise then war, hate and fear would cease to exist, society would accept each individual's choices. If media reflected a healthy society there would be no stigmatising, there would be no hate campaigns against groups such as Muslims, teens, the elderly, 'benefit scroungers' or us poorly portrayed 'inferior/ mentally “ill"' people.
Honest, open and trustworthy
If we look at governments, media, celebrities and large corporations (the employers of a vast proportion of society) how many times do we hear about corruption, fraud and abuses that take place?
How often do we hear the truth and see the transparency of these large, powerful and influential groups?
How does society demonstrate love? What does society love? Is our society not based on its love of money? Is our country’s success not based on how profitable/investable we are, how wealthy we are? And does our government, our society, our corporations not measure things by giving value to money – a piece of paper, or computer screen with a number on? And what do we do with the money – we make, produce, buy and sell 'stuff', which we don’t even need.
Since when has money and 'stuff' become more important than humanity, more important than unconditionally loving our fellow human beings and caring for our health, happiness, environment and planet?
So hopefully you have gained some understanding of how our society is very mentally unwell and why I find the shore of 'normality' totally unacceptable.
For the meantime, I will sail around the edge of ocean of depression until I have devised a way to take flight to the forests and mountains of natural awesome beauty and live in my self sustainable idyllic world. I am not averse to company; does anyone want to join me?
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