Time to Talk about Mental Health

Human being are social animals. We survive and thrive within social groups, and there is increasing evidence that the way our brains are structured both supports and requires the relationships we have. These relationships enable us to develop not only our understanding of the world but also a sense of our own identity.

Obviously, how these understandings develop owes much to the nature of the conversations that we have with those around us. Being able to speak, and really be listened to, is a powerful force in us developing the stories that we use to explain and live our lives. However, conversely, silence can also have a considerable impact on our sense of who we are. Silence can so often convey a sense of rejection of how we are expressing ourselves and be seen as offering a message that we are in some way unacceptable. It is often through silence that we can develop a sense of shame, especially when this has been backed up by previous negative comment. Shame then so often perpetuates the silence, which in turn reinforces shame.

What is important to remember here, is that you and I have as much right to self-expression as anyone else in this world. The world is a diverse place, whether we are talking about ethnicity, sexual or gender preference, physical or mental disability, or degrees of mental health or ill-health.  We know that silence will only exacerbate mental health problems, as it pushes us away from our natural drive towards relationship and communication. The power of witnessing and being witnessed has been understood by human being for a long time – whether in the confession box, a help-line, or in a counselling setting. It is this power that helps people overcome many of the challenges that we face in our lives. It is this that can forge a greater connection, whatever our differences.

Mark Head – March 2019

Mark Head is an internationally qualified Transactional Analysis Trainer and Supervisor and a Mindfulness instructor. He has a background in training, project management and business consultancy and his focus is now on training, organisational consultancy, coaching, supervision, and psychotherapy. Marks places most emphasis in the development of the individual or group in achieving their desired goal, through increased awareness and insight. Mark is one of the founders and Co-Director of the Link Centre.

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