From celebrity suicides to sporting event controversies to even a whole month dedicated to mental health awareness, we have all witnessed some kind of debate and/or “support” for people fighting losing battles against mental health. While that seems like staggering progress from ‘Only crazy people go to therapy and ‘Being gay is a mental disease’, when thought about, as a society (especially as a generation that is oh-so-woke) our foundation of mental health support is crumbling and folding in on its hypocrisies. The most basic evidence of our support being half-hearted is the acceptance of therapy but barely any effort into making it more accessible, but I don’t care about the evils of capitalism right now. I want to talk about what a bunch of hypocrites we are. I don’t know if I’m sorry if that sounded harsh.
We cheer for people making important decisions for their mental health (here on out referred to as health) but then blow our tops off when their decisions even mildly inconvenience us or for the miserable part of our society, mock them and marginalize them over the internet where our anonymity allows us to be that way. They might not think they are that way but even a percentage of people reading this article almost certainly thought to themselves ‘Somebody must have hurt her, and she came here to vent’ and the people who publicly post such thoughts or speak about me like that if they see me are the people I am talking about. And they hurt me.
Of course, I am not saying everybody is like this, I know not everybody is like that. However, I also know that the number of people who are is concerning, to say the least. Here are the top three most obvious hypocrisies that I could think of:
1. INSTAGRAM STORY SUPPORT
Growing increasingly popular in the last couple of years, the Instagram story support is one that I find exceptionally stupid to the point where it makes me laugh. This support includes posting a plain black screen, or a black and white picture of yourself or writing a thesis on just the one poor screen that is so full of text it is almost impossible to read anything and of course, the best of the worst “Please do not be afraid to text me. I’m only one call away”.
Firstly, any kind of support that permanently disappears from the public eye in 24 hours is not supported (I thought that was fairly obvious but not). Secondly, we all know how fast people tap through stories, nobody is going to sit and read the novella on yours. Lastly, when (if) I do see your post: “Please do not be afraid to text me” I can’t help but think about all the rumours you spread about people, the gossip you threw at anybody willing to listen, the way you rolled you eyes when the not-so-popular kid said absolutely anything. The last point is especially dangerous because it makes me lose faith in the entire trend, even if somebody is offering genuine help, they are now placed in the same category as you. It would be more helpful if you don’t post that.
Speaking of trends, has anybody noticed that all these stories show up together and then leave together and show up again when something terrible happens, together?
2. SUPPORT FOR HEALTH-PRESERVING DECISIONS
Hear me out. The first that came to mind when I thought of this was the Olympics controversy that happened this year. I know everybody has already spoken about it but if I have learned anything from the people I’m going to talk about, I am writing this, and therefore, just by virtue of having a keyboard, my opinion matters most.
I’m not going to get into detail about what happened, I’m going to talk about how people reacted(Not the positive reactions, those people are gems but this is not about them). There were so many people talking about how Simone Biles let her country down and how she should be ashamed of herself. People on Twitter were bashing the young gymnast for taking a decision that should have brought her peace of mind, completely ruining said peace of mind. They sat on their sofas and ridiculed her for being a coward at the most popular sporting event in the world over the internet, protected by their anonymity. The man with all the opinions, Piers Morgan didn’t even seek anonymity when he said there’s nothing brave about quitting because she wasn’t “having fun” (Now I’m not saying that he should quit, but I am saying it is smart to quit when nobody else is having fun. But that’s just me).
Why go that far? We all know the people who say things like “I know they’re depressed but do they always have to kill the vibe?” (Direct quote from a random person who killed the vibe by mentioning somebody who wasn’t even there).
The reason I titled this section ‘Support for health-preserving decisions’ is that there is no way all the people who threw a hissy fit over the Biles situation hadn’t at least once posted about how important mental health is to them. Also, the person I quoted was one of the black screens “Please text me/you’re not alone” people. Make of that what you will.
3. CANCEL CULTURE
We’ve now entered the shaky territory, but I’ve been stomping through eggshells this entire article so I’m going to YOLO through this one as well (Please excuse my Boomer vocabulary, I have no idea how to act my age). Cancelling people can be a good thing, when done in moderation and to people who really, truly deserve not having a career. We all know that’s not how cancelled culture is though. This cancels people for saying something that some people find offensive, for defending people who have been cancelled for saying something, not that offensive, for mocking people who cancel others for no particular reason etc. People are being cancelled so frequently these days, Twitter now reminds me of ‘The Crucible’: Minor offence, major punishment unless you can call somebody else out and shift the attention from you.
My biggest problem with cancelled culture has been captured very well by Daniel Sloss (I do recommend his comedy special on Netflix for those who enjoy not cancelling people). When these internet warriors talk about something being offensive, quite often they are not even offended, they only believe that being offended is the right thing to do. They are being offended on behalf of a group of people that does not involve them and if anything, that is the truly offensive thing. They are going out of their way to scream about how offensive something is on behalf of somebody else because somewhere, they see those people as smaller and weaker and feel a need to protect them and be their knight in shining armour. Those people didn’t ask them to do this, they did it anyway.
On the same note, I don’t think these warriors understand that they are fighting for somebody’s mental health by completely obliterating somebody else’s. It is a vicious cycle and one that will never end because people’s need to be the hero is stronger than people’s understanding of logic and reasoning.
In conclusion, I would like to say that we are not even close to being as “woke” as we think we are and understanding that is the first step in getting rid of these hypocrisies. We have made progress, I’m not denying it but what good is any growth when the foundation has a million holes in it. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: if there is one thing you can take away from this, it is the question ‘Are we sensitized to mental health or are we too sensitive to admit that we’re not?’