What’s your role?
I attended the Student Health and Wellbeing Mental Health Awareness Month launch last Friday.
I got to eat some delicious food and was inspired by the speeches given by the host and speakers, but what truly had me thinking was the reveal of this year’s MHA Month theme – Everyone Has a Role to Play.
Looking back at 2020, everything and everyone seemed to have a grey cloud hanging over their heads from the uncertainty and isolation. Even now as we try to adjust back into our “normal” way of life, I’ve come to realise that we all play a part in making sure that our loved ones are taking care of their mental wellbeing.
Throughout the pandemic, I’ve noticed that I’ve been somewhat of an advocate for seeking help if someone needs to. Going to therapy or even talking candidly about one’s not-so-good days is a huge taboo in the Asian community. Where I’m from, older people are quick to dismiss our stress, anxieties, and depression as a result of being detached from God or that our generation has just gone soft which, unfortunately, turns a lot of younger people away from getting help. I try to create a safe space for my friends and family who want to talk about their feelings and when it seems as though they are on the fence about getting help, I slowly encourage them to go do so. I make sure they know that going to therapy is not something to be shameful of. We all go to the doctor when our nose starts getting a little runny, so why feel embarrassed to do the same for our mental health?
The biggest role that I’ve played was to be the one opening up about her feelings. It’s easy to reassure and listen to others when they’re going through it, but it’s scary (and sometimes awkward, even) when you’re the one who has to talk about how you really feel. Since the pandemic, I felt like I owe it to myself to not drown in these heavy emotions and go through it alone when I know there are people who are always there to listen and help. The first person I ever cried and let it all out to was my older sister. It was not easy for me to muster up the courage to tell her about how I was really doing here – mental wise – but one hour and who-knows-how-many pieces of tissue later, I felt a lot better like I just exhaled after holding my breath for too long.
Whichever part you’re playing, just know that it all matters and helps others in some way. Whether you told your friend that you’re proud of their results or compliment a stranger’s outfit on the bus, it could all make a huge difference to their day and how they feel. So tell me, what role do you play?