Today is the 10th of October, and it marks an important day in the calendar: World Mental Health Day. It's a day when we come together to raise awareness about mental health issues, reduce stigma, and promote mental well-being. On this occasion, I want to share some thoughts about how we can show kindness and understanding to those around us, as we often don't fully know the battles others are facing.
I recently posted a quote on my Instagram page that struck a chord: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about." These words highlight a fundamental truth about the human experience. We are all too often so good at concealing our inner struggles, putting on a brave face, and pretending that everything is fine. We wear a facade of well-being, even if we're far from it. This facade can be so convincing that others may struggle to see beyond it.
This social mask we wear can make it challenging for people to open up about their true feelings and experiences. They feel compelled to maintain the illusion that everything is great, even if they are hurting inside.
So, what can we do to support those around us? It's essential to look for the subtle cues that may reveal someone is going through a difficult time. For instance, when you see someone smiling, but that smile doesn't quite reach their eyes, there might be an underlying pain they're trying to conceal. Pay attention to the disconnect between their smile and their eyes.
Behaviour is another indicator: If someone you care about starts behaving out of character or seems to be acting unusually, consider that there might be something they're not ready to share.
Moreover, when someone lashes out or appears unkind, it's crucial to remember the old saying, "Hurt people hurt people." If they show frustration and anger, rather than matching that anger, instead try to take a step back and empathise. Ask yourself what might be causing those strong emotions. More often than not, there's a deeper reason behind their behaviour.
On this World Mental Health Day, the most important message we can carry with us is one of kindness and compassion for others. Remember that every person you encounter, whether it's the person in the coffee shop who seemed impatient, the pedestrian who bumped into you on the street, or the driver behind you who flashed their lights in frustration, could be battling their own unique challenges. Rather than feeling annoyance or resentment, consider instead extending understanding and empathy. Try to imagine what might be going on in their lives that has led to their emotional reactions. Everyone is fighting their own battles, and often, these battles are hidden from view.
As we commemorate this day, let's commit to looking out for one another. Check in on your loved ones, talk to your friends and family, and genuinely inquire about their well-being. Be on the look-out for the subtle signs that suggest someone may not be as well as they appear on the surface and if you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please don't hesitate to seek help and support. See below for some useful resources to assist you.
In conclusion, let's make World Mental Health Day a day of not just awareness but also action. Let's choose kindness, understanding, and compassion.
For support for you or a loved one, please see the following resources: