On reaching out to the people with disorders
In reference to a study conducted by WHO, Manong Ari said that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. From ages 15 to 29, the second highest cause of death is suicide, and the highest cause of suicide is depression.
What he finds more disturbing is that most of the people who have mental health disorder are either those uninformed of their condition, or those aware but choose to do nothing about it.
“When you’re going through it, especially when you’re in the deepest state, you’re like blanketed by sorrow, negativity, and hopelessness. It’s a terrible disorder where your brain tells you that you’re useless, and you’re better off dead,” he shared.
“Kaya we tell people, don’t listen to that. That’s not you talking. But it’s easier said than done,” he added.
Manong Ari also reminded never to invalidate their problems by saying that what they go through is all in the mind, and that they can easily snap out of it by will.
“They say happiness is a choice, and that we can choose to be happy. Yes, it’s true, if we’re normal,” he reasoned.
If anything, what a person can do to help is to simply listen and let them vent. The family, of all people, portray the most crucial role.
“Kaso sometimes, the family don’t even know that they have it. It’s not that they don’t tell, it’s just that the family don’t understand. So they say gawa-gawa lang, nag-iinarte lang, naghahanap lang ng atensyon, or kulang lang sa dasal, not knowing na it’s physiological. There’s something wrong with the brain,” he lamented.
In regards to medication, Manong Ari disapproves of self-diagnosis, and urges to strictly follow the doctor’s prescription instead, “This is important, when you’re under medication, somebody close (proximity-wise) has to watch over you. It may have side effects, like a possible increase in your suicidal ideations. It takes time to find the right combination.”
On minimizing the stigma about the people with disorders
As a motivational speaker for nearly seven years, Manong Ari came to know that mental health conditions can hit people from all spectrum of society. That is why Kylie’s Facebook page, Mental Health Matters established its Mental Health Support Group, whose one of the administrators is Manong Ari.
Aware of the fact that psychiatric consultations often come with a high price, the primary goal of the group is to set up foundations in major cities and provinces that will offer affordable or free mental health assistance.
With the Senate’s approval of Mental Health Act, as well as with the support of several concerned organizations, Manong Ari hopes that a day happens when more people come out and be open about their condition—without society’s prejudice.
“Kylie also went through this, but look at what she’s achieved. As for me, I have businesses to supervise and more projects are coming along. There might be no cure, but we can manage it, we can treat it. We can still live a normal life,” Manong Ari said.
While he also believes that stigma will always be there one way or another, he said it can be minimized by putting things into proper perspective. “This is how it should be perceived, if you have a heart problem, you go to a cardiologist. If you have a lung problem, you go to a pulmonologist. So where do you go when you have a mental problem? A psychiatrist,” he explained.
What goes through the mind of a person with mental health disorder is unimaginable, but there is one thing that everyone must realize: they must not be regarded cowards, sensitive, or weak. For they have been strong for way too long.
With proper awareness about mental health issues, we might be able to help one another to keep going; and save a life.
Updated October 10, 2018.