Why We Are Already Tough

Image Source: ABC Life/Luke Tribe

I recently saw on the news that a well-known British journalist (and he’s on national television by the way), recently stated that Britain needs to ‘’man up’’ when given the fact that recent statistics showed an alarming 34 million people are having mental health conditions. He also stated that after reading an interview of a celebrity who was being honest about their mental health conditions, the interview made him ‘cringe’ and the man somehow decided that he should be the judge of whether this celebrity really has mental health conditions or that he just ‘needs to toughen up’.

Sure, after a lot of criticism, [Piers Morgan] stated that he is ‘just stating his opinions’ because that is ‘part of [his] job’, and to that, on behalf of the rest of us here, I say that sure, stating your opinion is a right and maybe part of your job as well, but judging someone’s mental health condition certainly isn’t and that should be left to the person’s therapists and doctors and other professional experts. You are not a mental health professional expert, Morgan. And the same applies to any of you who thinks that ‘we need to man up’.

The fact that we still see that 34 million people in the statistics ‘are’ having mental health issues, clearly means that these 34 million people are living, are alive, and therefore tough. That doesn’t mean those who have lost the battle have not been tough, but rather they have been tough for long yet had not received enough professional help. For those who are still alive (therefore are in the stats), they are battling life with these conditions. If they haven’t ‘manned up’ or haven’t been ‘tough’ you wouldn’t see them in the statistics because they would be dead. That includes myself who has had experience with mental health conditions and still do, and I am already having professional help, thank you very much. So if we haven’t been ‘tough’, you wouldn’t see us alive and speaking out about it, which is contrary to what the statistics show.

People like Morgan and anyone who echo his opinions are certainly not helping our progress in fighting against mental health stigma as it is because of words and responses like these, some of us are afraid to admit we need help. Or even simply seek help for that matter. And one by one before you know it, until one of your family member disappears one day for good from a mental health condition, would you learn? The sad part is that some of us now part of the activism have learned that the hard way. They never got the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones, nor tell them that their existence was appreciated and they can and will get better. Having a mental health condition is not a death sentence. Not unless you make it so otherwise. If we are not educated enough about this we will not be forming and giving out appropriate and helpful opinions towards others facing such issues.

So Piers, I just want to conclude that I think Britain is already tough. And from the rest of the world battling with mental health conditions, we are already tough.

And you need to be educated.

Published by Anna Tan (陈丽安)

Anna is a neuroscientist (by training) who is passionate about International Affairs. She describes herself as an East-West hybrid, well-versed with life as a third culture kid that was raised in South East Asia. Anna also enjoys museums, theatres and her morning coffees. She also likes her Kaya Toast and Mohinga (on separate occasions). She is currently based at King’s College London, at the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy. You can follow her on Twitter: @AnnaTanGTW.

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