One shot for feelings betrayed and neglected. Two bottles to arrest confidence and vent out inner melancholy. Three buckets for a love defunct, demised, and broken. The counter goes on and on until all became wasted. This is the only way Andie could escape from all depressing emotions that keeps on drowning her. And recently, this too, has been one of the novel ways the youth of today or what were tagged as ‘millennials’ do to unmask pain and deal with coping up.
Astray, like nowhere to be found, she was. For days, my classmate Andie locked herself inside her room and gone seemingly incognito into someone she was not because of her failed relationship. With thoughts of quitting medical school and close-to-cutting her pulsations off, I am scared that this might also be mutual thoughts to many other youth encountering the same feeling at that particular moment.
Today, mental health becomes a pressing issue not only in our country but even in the different parts of the world especially in neighboring Asian countries, with a long lasting cultural stereotype due to the manner in which it has long been labeled. In the Philippines, one in five people suffers from a mental health problem and mental health illnesses are the third most common forms of morbidity for Filipinos not to mention the ratio of mental health personnel to population which is nowhere near the World Health Organization (WHO)’s recommended levels in the less developed countries of the continent. What makes the numbers rise unceasingly is due to the endless stigma that sticks with one who seeks professional help as if it’s a taboo so to speak. From there, access to psychiatric care are impinged which created more Andies vulnerable especially among the youth of this generation.
Change is an immutable element in this time and change however, for this concern to be resolved, making a difference to what has been ingrained in society’s mindset might change people’s perspective on these mental health issues.
For one, venturing into medical school opened the gates for me to knowing the biopshychosocial approach when dealing not just only with patients but with other interpersonal interactions with people. I see a person not just a human being anymore but as a totality where one needs to consider the holistic aspect in treating others. With this image imperatively painted in the minds of the youth, a whole, new perspective may arise and gradually dispose off the stigma that sticks along.
Mental health awareness is the key to opening the minds of those shallowly-influenced by the norm. The power of social media where the youth reigns supreme can move mountains and reverberate this voice especially among ASEAN nations who are statistically suffering the lead with the most cases of suicides and other mental health problems to note. Millennials are socially-conscious people who believe that they can change the world in a realist kind of way hence can be pragmatic in supporting such causes, which I do in my own simple way through blog.
When united as one, we can delineate the gaps between the what-used-to-be’s from what-should-be’s in today’s mentality. These depressing feelings when channeled to the very right reason can give birth to a beautiful purpose. So as we encounter more Andies in our lives, may we remind them that the negative emotion they feel is a flowerbud that can blossom to an amazing work of art or story or beautiful melody. For no shots or bottles can heal the mind than a hand held tight reminding that someone’s there ready to listen and give light.