This is something that’s been in the news today; for those of you outside the UK, Kate Middleton has made a video promoting the charity Place2Be and raising awareness of mental health problems in children.
One of the points that she mentions is that parents feel ashamed and embarrassed about their children needing counselling. This is something that’s pretty common; in fact, I think we’re brought up in a culture that teaches us to be ashamed of asking for help.
I don’t think I’ve seen one film or TV programme or read one book where a character is shown as grateful or happy to receive counselling. They all resist it and are portrayed as being angry about needing help.
I don’t know where this mentality comes from, it seems to be something that’s incredibly deep-seated in our culture and unbelievably harmful. We need to not only break down the stigma surrounding mental health, but the stigma surrounding counselling- and not just for children, for all ages.
I can understand that it must be very painful for a parent to have to accept that their child needs counselling- but as a child who went through counselling I can say that it wasn’t because my parents failed at their job; it was because they were too close to me, I was scared of hurting or upsetting them by talking about the pain I was going through.
Plus, as good as parents might be, 9/10 they won’t be trained mental health professionals. These situations take objectivity.
Another problem is that mental health issues, like most physical health issues, can be treated most easily when caught early- but a lot of people are discouraged because they don’t think their problems seem ‘bad enough’.
It’s exactly this mentality that is causing problems.
Catching issues when they’re first beginning can solve a lifetime of problems, and can reduce pain and cost in the long-term.
It’s a really good thing that people like Kate Middleton are getting behind mental health issues; I don’t really care that most of the people talking about mental health at the moment are politicians who I seriously dislike- I’m just glad that it’s getting talked about!
With something like mental health, more talking means less stigma.
’til next time,