Mental Health and Wellbeing Matters: being open about mental health

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Opening up about mental health does come with highs and lows: a few thoughts on how the world has changed, but still needs to change more.

Hello and welcome to the spot on the site where we chat about mental health, wellbeing, and things that may be affecting us. This is a weekly column at Film Stories, that’s been running for a few years now. Across that time, hopefully there’s an article or two that are of use to you, amongst the many that no doubt aren’t at all. And there’ll be another along next week too.

This week, a few words on the shame and stigma that comes with not being okay. As much as there’s a lot more openness and discussion about mental health, there’s still a fear when opening up about it that others will recoil from it a little. Or judge. Or put us in the ‘problem’ box.

Certainly it seems that that as much as there are employers who are sympathetic and supportive, there are others who, well, aren’t. And every time we hear a story about a lack of support, that encourages more and more of us to cover things up.

Then the cycle never steps. Without openness and conversation, mental health continues to suffer, and we’re back in the days of sweeping things under the carpet and hoping they might go away. Those days needs to come to an end, and there’s still much work to do to make that happen.

It’s still better than it was, but external forces then are part of the cycle here. Not everyone out there is a nice and supportive person, and mental health challenges don’t always get the reception they need or should get.

Internal forces too play their part too. Building up to the moment of telling people is a challenge in itself sometimes.

Like many articles in this series, this one’s going to be an imperfect one.  Because to overcome internal boundaries to sharing more, at least some external ones need to be negotiable too. Either way though, there’s a leap into the unknown sharing information about your own health. It’s perfectly understandable why so many of us do keep things under wraps.

But in the end it doesn’t help. As such, whilst it might not be the perfect approach to walk up to an employer and tell everything from the off, there may be someone in HR you can talk to. Or a friend at work. Just someone so you’re not hiding yourself so much Outside of work, a friend or family member is the ideal of course, but not everyone has that. These pieces consistently recommend services such as Samaritans, which are there for people – an old cliché for this column – as much at the start of their tether than the end. Drop them an email at [email protected] – there’s always a human at the end of it.

Times are changing, thankfully, and cycles are being broken every day. I hope that it’s possible for you to break it too. Either way, this column will keep returning and do head down to the comments for a chat. The very best to you, and take care.

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