Couple wks ago, I did a poll, here. I asked you to think of: the 1st 3 words that come to mind when you hear the term: Physical Health – were they more positive or negative. We did the same exercise w the term MH. The results?
25% of you thought of more negative words abt the term Physical Health than positive ones. A whopping 45% thought more negative word abt the term MH.
Can’t forget a couple of factors: 1) most of the community members here are well-read MH enthusiasts, that look for positive skills, coping, & thriving strategies, 2) Physical health absolutely encompasses things that can go wrong as well – like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. In fact, when we hear abt someone’s passing, it’s most commonly described as something that happened to them physically: heart attack, liver failure, cancer.
So why’s it that we (& the spread would’ve been way more drastic had I polled a general grp, & not you MH aficionados) think so negatively abt the term mental HEALTH relative to other health topics?
These magazines are a reflection of 1) what sells, 2) what we’re SOLD, & 3) how our society’s been made to consider these topics.
Physical health we SEE. Our pants do/don’t fit. Our abs look like a 6pack or a spare tire. Our chin looks chiseled or bloated (I’m guilty of making the same critiques myself). But…we’re told we have control over these things we SEE…by putting in the work.
It’s brave, macho, attractive, to get our butts to the gym & work on our bodies. Society tells us so w these pics like the top 2.
On the flip side, when it comes to MH, bc we don’t SEE it, we expect it to just be: good/fine/how we want, bc that’s how it should be, if you weren’t “born” w a major disorder. To make things worse, social media (like the DM I shared the other day), even w what ppl feel inside, we see the “everyday” person always smiling.
So what do the magazines, papers, podcasts, shows, documentaries then “sell” us about MH? They go to the far end of the spectrum so we SEE something they believe we want to learn abt: Disorders, sadness, sickness, struggle. We don’t, by-&-large talk abt the sexiness of mental HEALTH, & we need to work to change that.