I just learned that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. My perspective on this issue has changed dramatically throughout my life. As a child, it did not even register. I did not view my father’s history of addiction or my grandmother’s lack of consideration for others as mental health issues. I do not know to what extent it’s helpful to do so.
However, what I do know is that mental health concerns should never be stigmatized. What should be stigmatized is the sick culture we live in — especially in the United States (I don’t feel comfortable criticizing countries I have not visited or been in long enough to condemn). Put me on a tropical island somewhere with unlimited food and good people, and I’d bet anything I’d be healthier and happier mentally than I ever could be here. Take my cell phone away too.
The great Krishnamurti once said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” As long as we continue to stigmatize those who are not well adjusted and refuse to stigmatize the larger society, we will continue to suffer epidemics of anxiety, depression, emptiness, etc. These are natural feelings when the environment we live in has become unnatural.