Mental health, or should I say, mental ‘ill-health’, can not only destroy the life of the person suffering from it but the lives of those around the person.

Mental health issues can fall into several categories. Sometimes it runs in the family and passed on from either side of the parents. It may not even be passed from a parent to a child. It could have been passed to the child from a paternal uncle or aunt, or a maternal uncle or aunt. When it’s passed down it might not be as bad as the person who passed it down but, on the other hand, it could be worse.

Whereas the paternal or maternal uncle or aunt might have just had anger management issues, the person down the line might be so volatile as to be a danger not just to those around them but to themselves as well.

Unfortunately, when someone suffers from what appears to be a mental health problem, it’s often hard to pinpoint if it’s a mental health issue or something else. Some might say the person is possessed by a supernatural being and is, therefore, not themselves. Or some might say the person is just so angry with life that they want to take it out on those around them, usually their family such as siblings or children or husband or wife. And some might just say the person is mad and, therefore, needs to be institutionalised. Whichever one it is, it’s hard to deal with.

In some countries it is easier to get the sufferer help because there are systems in place to enable those seeking help to easily find it.  But some countries do not.

But in some cultures, there is also a question of a massive, big, fat stigma attached to someone who claims to need help, or whose family says they need help. In some cultures, those seeking therapy, or psychiatric help, are often looked down upon and ostracised from society. They are talked about behind their back with talk such as, ‘That is a family of nutters. Keep away from them.’ They lose their jobs, they lose their friends, no one wants to marry into their family and even their families can get fed up.

Despite all this, it is very important for families to seek professional help, if they can. Amateur analysis at home with talk of ‘what’s wrong with him or her?’ and the ‘I think it’s because of this, that and the other’ can exacerbate a situation rather than abate it. If there are 10 people in the family who sit around coming up with 10 different analyses, instead of getting help, they never get anywhere and the status quo exists.

Families can lose their temper with the person behaving in the most bizarre of manners. They may start to hate the person for what they’re doing and can often conflate their acts with who they are or were. Again, it is for this very reason that external professional help needs to be sought. Unfortunately, there is one important condition that all professionals place on being able to provide the necessary treatment to a patient and that is that the subject needs to admit he or she has a problem and needs help, and then be willing to sit and talk to the professional.

But, let’s not forget one thing though. Sometimes it’s not a mental health issue. Sometimes it’s just someone’s personality that has now gotten completely out of hand. That being said, a professional’s assistance is still required.

When I lived in the UK, I had friends who worked with the UK unemployment office. Long periods of unemployment, loss of self-esteem and struggling to pay bills can take a toll on people, both physically and mentally. Every week, the unemployment office would have a professional therapist come in and be available for any customer who needed to talk. They would leave a very subtle sign up saying if you need to speak to Mr X or Miss Y, they are available in room 2.

And some customers did go in there to talk.

Sometimes talking to a person outside the situation or having someone outside the immediate environment come in and talk to people, can go a long way to finding a solution.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It could take weeks or months for the person to recover. If you have someone in your family who is no longer who they used to be, you are not alone. You may wonder where that person went and what happened to them. Are they still in there? You might even have a hard time remembering the person you knew because you cannot remember the last time you saw them.


Author: Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.