Johann Hari on the importance of looking at mental health from a social perspective as well as a pharmaceutical one. He cites the example of a a GP named Sam Everington who in addition to offering antidepressants, encouraged the patients who came to him with depression to work together to turn a pice of derelict land into a garden:
As they got to know each other, they did what human beings do when we form tribes and groups; they started to solve each others’ problems.
So for example one of the people in the group was sleeping on the bus was sleeping on a bus. Everyone else in the group was like “well of course you’re depressed, you’re sleeping on a bus! They started lobbying the local council to get him a house. They got him housed. It was the first time most of them had done something for someone else in years. That made them feel really good.
And the way Lisa put it to me “As the garden began to bloom, we began to bloom.”
An interesting piece in Vice on whether racism should be classed as a mental illness. It’s a tempting comparison to make, but as mental health advocates point out, classifying a failure of basic critical thinking such as racism, in the same way we classify genuine illnesses like depression and schizophrenia, is only likely to further stigmatise mental illness.
This video of Jane Elliot speaking on the Oprah Winfrey Show is priceless though, and I think her classification of racism as an illness is a reflection of the time when she made her comments rather than any attempt to dismiss real mental health concerns:
If you judge other people by the color of their skin, by the amount of a chemical in their skin, you have a mental problem. You are not dealing well with reality.”
"You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending."
Mild depression is quite common. We all have periods in our lives when we feel sad, and have trouble shaking it off. It may not seem like a big deal, but if we let mild depression fester, then it can diminish our health and quality of life.
With everything that’s going on at the moment, our mental health is under greater threat than ever before. Lifehack.org offers an interesting look at why we sometimes feel mildly depressed for no apparent reason, as well as some tips for dealing with the blues when they arise.