Following seeing the usual raft of anti-suicide and positive mental health posts, I decided to post the following status:-
With everyone talking about mental health, I wasn’t going to say this but a friend of mine expressed a similar sentiment so I felt I should. If you really want to promote positive mental health, posting a telephone number, or a meme, or support is pointless or directions as to how you should obsessively check on a friend you’re worried about. If someone is in that state of mind, more often than not it won’t do any good, not least because it seems a bit empty.
The best thing any of us can do is not be an arsehole. It really isn’t that difficult. After seeing an almost endless slew of memes about how we could tackle poor mental health, nine times out of ten from people who are generally quite vitriolic and horrible, I can’t help but think that not being nasty is the best way to tackle it as a problem.
Many years ago I read what is still my favourite play. It was “An Inspector Calls” by J.B. Priestley. The crux of it is that a family individually and independently comes it with a young girl. She ends topping herself and an inspector goes round to their house to explore the relationship that they all had with her. Had one of them shown her kindness, decency and a bit of respect, she might not have killed herself.
Some people are mentally ill and that just happens. It’s tragic, but it happens and has done throughout history. Why it is so prevalent today I feel is because of the way we treat each other. To be nice to each other really isn’t difficult. Even if you don’t like someone, it takes far less effort to be indifferent to them than it does to purposefully go out of your way wind them up, to be horrible, to try and stoke whatever underlying demons that they have. Of the last half a dozen people that have called on me when they’ve been close to the edge, what usually pushed it from manageable to the extreme was someone being nasty and bang out of line to them, and totally unnecessarily too. Game playing, flaking, or years of slurs and verbal abuse that turned that outside voice into an inside one that torments them.
Likewise, if you are the sort of person that has been treated badly, don’t hang around those that do treat you badly. I learnt this lesson a few years ago now. If someone mistreats you or is nasty to you, don’t hang around them. It really is that simple. Miss out on the pub if you’re going to be feeling down after spending an evening with them. Unfriend or unfollow them. Don’t get in touch with them. The vacuum that they will leave in your life will be filled with good, genuine, honest people that do treat you right.
As my nan used to say, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.