Mental health is one of the foremost challenges in our country, or rather, lack of adequate diagnosis and treatment has caused undue suffering. Most families, have had some experience with loved ones suffering from some form of mental health issue. Our jails and prisons are filled with people who did not get the proper treatment for issues in childhood and beyond. Every tragedy of the recent past, puts the focus on the issue; some suffer in silence, some reach out and seek help, some abuse others in their circle and others become violent criminals. And everyone struggles without resources, without help. Our society is better when we address mental health as a public health issue.
As mental health becomes more of an issue in the forefront, it is important that we release the shame and embarrassment associated with mental health treatment. As we age, this inquiry is useful at the start of each decade in our life. It isn’t coincidental that life evolves at the beginning of a decade of life. Thirty has certain components relating to planning life goals and visions for the future, forty as well shines a light on accomplishments, career often in full swing, some focus on things not, fifty, usually physical changes, menopause, more a focus on realizing that you are well into the second half of your life, closer to death than birth. For some health challenges arise, financial concerns and changes in family structure. Sixty exacerbates health challenges, financial issues, concerns about the future, role in society. Unique changes to women include divorce at all ages often leaving women in vulnerable financial position.
I have friends who had kids at a much older age than I did, so they are now experiencing the empty nest syndrome and seem to be stressed and depressed about it. If you have no other focus in your life other than being a mother, you no longer have those responsibilities to fill your day and give you purpose, your life can feel empty and useless. I have been embarrassed for their kids when they show their emotional problems on social media. I think it is important to find our own purpose and not burden your kids with the guilt of your emotional problems because you are unfulfilled in your life in other areas. It takes work, but it can be done.
When the trajectory of your life changes, whether it be from death of a spouse, divorce, the kids are gone or a health crisis, you have to consciously make a plan to go forward. You cannot live your life by default. To see how I did it, check out my course, Last Chapters On Purpose. We are all on a journey, and want to make it the most fulfilling possible.
The Dahli Lama: While many people consider sensory experience as the main source of happiness, really it is peace of mind. What destroys peace of mind is anger, hatred, anxiety and fear. Kindness counters this—and through appropriate education we can learn to tackle such emotions.
What recommendations do you have to increase the acceptance and availability of mental health diagnosis and treatment?