Why We Need To Talk About Mental Health With Our Families

Growing up, the words ”mental health” weren’t in my vocabulary. I didn’t know what it was or that it was even a thing, let alone that people in my family dealt with mental health issues in their lives. 

It wasn’t until my late teens to early 20s that I started to learn and become aware of what mental health was. It was also around that time that I really became passionate and became an advocate for issues surrounding mental health. Am I glad I learned about it when I did? Absolutely. Though at the same time, I wished my family and I talked about it when I was a kid. I could have learned about my family’s history with it and would have been able to talk about what I was struggling with and it being okay to do so. 

Growing up I was often asked “Why are you crying? There’s no need to cry” and things very similar to this. 

This led to years of me trying to hide my true feelings when I was upset or trying to hold them in because I didn’t want to burden my friends or family with my feelings. I still do that to this day. 

It actually happened the other day, unfortunately. I was upset about multiple things, and when I was crying over the smallest of things, my mom said what I have heard all my life.  “There is no reason to cry about that.” I think if we talked about mental health growing up, maybe I would be able to handle my emotions better. I could have learned the coping skills that I am now learning  at 33 years old. If I had learned these skills when I was a kid, I think my mental health would have benefited from it. 

The sad and honest truth is that I’ve needed help for my mental health for a long time. 

I played it off like I was fine, but I knew I wasn’t. My friends and family knew I wasn’t okay. I was anxious all the time, sad emotionally, and drained. 

What was my breaking point to finally get help and admit to myself that I was not okay? My brother passed away earlier this year from COVID-19. This was one of many life events throughout the last year. 

I was overwhelmed. There was too much on my plate and I didn’t know what to do. At a doctor’s appointment a few months back, my blood pressure was high, and they asked me what was going on. I told them about my problems, and they asked me if I wanted to speak to someone. I’m now in therapy and taking care of my mental health 

I think for generations we didn’t want to talk about mental health because we didn’t   know how to help people who were dealing with these mental health issues. 

We just ignored them and brushed it off as no big deal when it actually is a huge deal.  I think if we talked to our kids about mental health, it wouldn’t be as stigmatized, and we all would have better mental health. Everyone should be willing to have a conversation with their families about mental health issues and  see what can be done, not to just help your family, but generations to come.

Photo by Matthew Ball on Unsplash


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