Fiona Phillips: Stop trivialising mental health issues amid Kanye West concerns


There’s a lot of talk about mental health around right now as we all share stories of how we’ve coped – or not – with the coronavirus lockdown and its consequences.

Have you noticed how many times you hear the sentence: “I am SO depressed”? The problem is, there’s a danger in talking about things too much. People interpret mental health in different ways.

For instance, a teenager might say: “I’m SO depressed” if they read about a heartthrob musician hooking up with a gorgeous model.

How about: “I am SO depressed that Zayn Malik is back with Gigi Hadid”. No, you’re not. You’re jealous, not mentally ill.

You’re not depressed. You’re envious. And then there’s: “I’m SO depressed I can’t go out tonight because I’ve got so much homework to do”. Annoying? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. Depressing? No.

“I am SO depressed” is one of our most ­overused sentences uttered by people who mostly have no idea what real depression is.

Sentences such as: “I’m SO depressed, that dress I liked has sold out now” completely trivialises what it means to have a mental health breakdown.

It’s nothing more than wanting something you can’t have. Real depression and real anxiety can both be the most scary, uncontrollable states to be locked in, or to witness – as Kim Kardashian has discovered with her husband Kanye West’s ongoing
problems, including ranting about very personal marital issues on Twitter, for which, she says she’s “powerless to help”.

And this is the crux of it.

Scientists can grow babies outside the womb; they can transplant a dead person’s healthy heart into another person’s body; men can walk on the moon and eat lettuce grown in the International Space Station, for goodness sake.

But the horrible sledgehammer of depression?

Go suffer guys and don’t expect any really useful relief.

The overuse of the terms “depressed”, “anxious”, even “suicidal”, by people who are medically suffering from none of those conditions is belittling the severity of genuine mental illness, for which treatments are lacking.

Who wants to place a bet on a coronavirus vaccine being in circulation well before mental health ­treatment ratchets up to
the standard it should, and desperately needs to be?

Nah, don’t bother.

What an absolute bloody shambles our Government has made of the management of Covid-19.

What an utter travesty that nearly five months into its rampaging spread, Boris was still umming and aaahing over whether masks should be made compulsory or not.

Confusion, rather than educated decisions, rules, it seems.

So, the latest as far as I can make out is: from yesterday masks MUST now be worn in shops. However, we’re told that retailers might turn a blind eye if we DON’T obey the rules, for fear they might be assaulted by mask-objectors.

One week face coverings are essential, the next they’re “ineffective”. Rather like the politicians making the decisions.

6 Ministers have been accused of an “astonishing” failure to plan for the social and economic impact of a pandemic.

Now, why don’t I find that surprising? Ministers, bless them, have rarely been impacted by any of the financial or social horrors that ordinary working life can throw at one, so why would they even think of planning for them?

My favourite newscaster, George Alagiah, is a man whose humility shines like a burning light. His approachable delivery means that when he reads the news you don’t just hear it, you listen.

This week he revealed that when he first moved to the UK from Ghana, he adopted a posh accent in order to fit in.

The irony in that is that it’s not his ‘posh’ accent, but his modesty and warmth that have made him one of Britain’s most-loved broadcasters.

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