From Taboo to Public Discussion: Rethinking Mental Health

man struggling with mental healthsitting on a couch with a hand on his head

From Taboo to Public Discussion: Rethinking Mental Health

From Taboo to Public Discussion: Rethinking Mental Health 640 417 Sophia Raineri

Like every year, October 10th marks the day when the world celebrates mental health, stressing the importance of raising awareness about mental health and well-being issues, and sharing beautiful motivational quotes to support those who struggle.

Today, like every year, we find ourselves stuck in front of a social stigma that seems to be on permanent lease in people’s mentality.

“Therapy is useless. You will get over it. Just put a smile on your face. Boys don’t cry.”

Most people suffer, have suffered or will suffer from mental illness during their life, yet speaking about it is a taboo and seeking help is often perceived as shameful.

Why do most people find it hard to talk about mental health?

We live in a social era that asks us to quickly adapt, be productive, successful and innovative. If we slow down, if we stop, we are left behind. Hence, mental illness becomes a synonym of laziness and fragility and to speak up a sign of eccentricity. This rhetoric does nothing but slowing down the public discussion on mental health and, consequently, halting the normalization of mental illness and therapy.

It’s time to challenge common rhetoric and place mental health at the center of public discussion.

As we’re living through a world-wide pandemic, many of us have found themselves face-to-face with their psychological issues.  As a result, the need for professional support is expected to drastically increase during the following months and years (WHO, 2020). Tackling this issue can no longer be postponed: it is of paramount importance to acknowledge the necessity of fighting the stigmatization of mental health in order to promote openness and empathy. Now, more than ever, we have the moral obligation of sharing the existing support services and spread awareness about mental health and how to improve it.

Today, like every year, the world celebrates mental health. Starting from now, try celebrating it every day, giving yourself some rest, calling your grandma, checking on your friend and asking your coworker to have a drink together. Shatter the silence and the stigma in your community, advocate the public on this important issue and allow yourself to improve your well-being.  You’re not alone.

To open up a discussion on mental health amongst youngsters, in 2019 Active Youth invited students from six European countries to reflect on the topic and discuss how to improve it. The students joined a wide range of activities and workshops, improving their understanding and awareness on the topic.

Here you can find some of the proposed activities, they may be useful for you too!



Sophia Raineri

Project & Communication Manager at Active Youth

All stories by : Sophia Raineri

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