By Rose Osman
As I was writing this article, the world was celebrating Mental Health Day. It’s positive to note that our focus on mental wellbeing is increasing and many of us are aware that mental illness is no different than physical illness. The pain is unseen but the agony that we are trapped in the well of suffering is real. To break that suffering requires understanding and compassion from our own self and others. People who suffer from mental illness can’t heal alone. They need the collective to see mental illness for what it is. The process is a long journey towards the light. Collectively, we need to wake up and see that the root cause of mental illness is not in individuals alone, but also in our human collective psyche.
Imagine that humanity is like one big body. We have our collective brain and minds too. Every individual represents a unit of cell or organism in the body. The strength and health of humanity depends on the strength and health as a group. Together, we have a single cell consciousness (which represents as individual consciousness) as well as collective consciousness. We cannot separate the individual from the collective. Therefore, mental health for everyone is important regardless of their social status. The idea to make 10th October as World Mental Health Day is a good step to bring awareness to the collective.
Here’s one way to be aware of mental illness. In every person who deals with mental illness, there is a collective story behind the suffering. For example, humans have lived through many wars, natural disasters and economic depression. We are dealing with a collective level of trauma, anger, shame, guilt, despair, grief and apathy. For sure, on the individual level, there are factors to explain their mental illness, but we can’t separate them from the collective story. Therefore, how do we attain mental health collectively?