Everyone has their own way of seeing the world. While many of us see it in very similar ways, there are still personality traits and life experiences that make our point of view unique. Some people refer to these as the “lenses” through which we see the world. The lenses through which I see the world have changed over the years, and recently I’ve seen them change for the better. One lens through which I continue to see the world is a mental health lens. This lens has a significant impact on how I see the world and shapes my decisions and decisions. Now I want to share what this means for me and how you can integrate it into your life too!
After living with depression and anxiety for nearly a decade, it comes naturally to me to look at everything through a mental health lens. But what does that mean? When I look at the world through a “mental health lens” it means that one of the first things that comes to my brain when I interact with real-world situations is how mental health goes into that situation. You may think this feels compelled, but if you learn enough about mental health, you will find that it is present in every aspect of life. Mental health in the workplace. It’s important in school. It’s important in sports, politics, government, hobbies, medicine … the list goes on.
This doesn’t just apply to our hobbies and activities. Mental health and well-being are present in interpersonal relationships, romantic relationships, friendships, and family interactions. We don’t see these connections because it’s not all about mental health. But that doesn’t mean seeing something through a lens. Just because it’s not the most important aspect of a topic doesn’t mean it should be ignored – and that’s how we’re treating it now.
Most people assume that the only time to talk about mental health is for someone to specifically talk about it, and that’s just not true. Someone does not need to give a personal testimony – often one filled with sadness and pain – for us to talk about mental health in sports, music, or pop culture. A reactionary approach to mental health is how we got to where we are, and so the talk about shrinking the stigma persists. With all the success that mental health advocates have achieved, it is still rare for people to talk about mental health unless they are negatively affected by it. Encouraging people to see things through a mental health lens could change that.
How do you begin to see the world through a mental health lens? You start asking questions. As you read about events on the news you wonder how mental health can play a role in what is happening. When loved ones say they are not feeling well, ask them if they mean physically or mentally. When you see a celebrity or public figure having trouble, ask yourself if they are mentally in a good place – mental disorders can make situations worse and label people “crazy” or “insane” rather than having a valid discussion Leading on mental health is our society’s general response to non-traditional behavior. Once you see the patterns of the way the world talks about mental health, you can challenge them. When we see the world through a mental health lens, we can reach out to each other to create a healthier community for ourselves and others, and it is time we started.