The silver lining in between you and your environment: on mental health issue

Nabila Fathonah. International Class of Environmental Engineering ITB.

Defined as absence of mental or behavioral disorder, mental health is a state of mental wellbeing that affects how individual conduct thinking process. Despite being a very close issue in human development, mental health has always been considered an illicit issue to talk about. Mental health topic, throughout the years, has been progressing toward necessary acknowledgment and has failed multiple times as well. Mental health issue has always been strongly adjourned due to religion practice that were strongly believed. Older generation was in strong refusal of admitting mental health issue, and condone healing only through religious practice. Little did they know, the existence of mental disorder was the output of high rates of domestic abuse, emotional abuse or even sexual abuse. This kind of mindset setbacks development in providing healing for mental health problems, it was until the 1990 when Congress officially declared the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) that the acknowledgment was established.  Young adults today were raised in a world where the issue of mental health created a polemic, they are the casualties of this tragic mindset. However, how do we stop them from projecting it to today’s society?

As future adults, today’s generation held a strong capacity in making significant change with this issue. Us, as the kid growing with wrongful termination towards mental well-being, has experienced the resilient act in providing better mental care. Campaigns, educations and even endorsement of mental health are thriving in our society. However, the thrive of this issue hasn’t been able to reach a more conservative society, such as here in Indonesia. Mental health is now wrongly seen as signs of strong liberalism rather than a life-threatening illness due to the strength of impact from religious study. It’s been a long overdue homework to solve inclusion of mental health awareness in religious based study. In solving this problem, the narrative of mental health should be changed. Growing up, in religious study we always been taught on heroes and noble prophet on their ability in surviving inconvenience, rather than the negative feelings that came with it. we were introduced to grand gesture made in suffering, but never the acknowledgement of how they feel towards the suffer that happened. We were taught to take control of our feelings but never on how to accept unwanted ones, such as feelings of sadness, emptiness, or even anger and thrive after. We were mostly taught on the mythical ability of noble character, rather than the human factor that we should be relating to. The implementation of holy books mostly told the sacred idea but never in a close to home narrative, which are actually written in every page of every character. We can’t live in a society where religious beliefs and mental health are sitting on different bench. Through teaching acknowledgements of negative feelings, normalizing it, we can start teaching our kid how to reach out to other people, and how to acknowledge others feeling. If we also teach religious study with the importance of connecting to our human behavior, we can put a stop to the bad projection of mental illnesses on a country that is more conservative. through changing the narrative, we are hoping that growing teenagers will no longer be having the polemic of going to the psychologist or cleric, because both religion and medical world, are supportive with their mental welfare.

This is the kind of change I expect myself to bring to the one nears me when it comes to mental health issue. I expect myself to be able to connect with them with approach that are necessary. To be able to help the one who stand in the name of science and the one that stand strongly only on the name of god. I expect myself to provide connection and to have enough knowledge to connect with methods and narratives that will make them feel accepted and secure. I have taught myself that the key start in healing is acceptance. I expect myself to always look out for the arm of the people next to me, look out for their unseen scars, untold stories, and even unwanted battles. Providing a safe environment where they can share mental health issues and still be the person that they are, because their illnesses are real in every way. I want to be able to create environment where mental health issue patients can feel accepted by their own beliefs too, before being taught on how to heal.

In science sectors not only medicine are responsible for mental welfare. Engineers also take a huge part in providing a mentally supportive environment. As people who works in providing manufacturing process, infrastructure, and even weather control, engineers are capable of making significant change. Socially, another problem that engineers are responsible for is the mentally abusive gender inequality for women in stem sectors, and therefore need a significant change. Engineers, are people who can change a complicated and heavy method of doing something, into a easier ones. with this being said, practically it could erase the assumption of women not being able to perform a certain job because of its heavy workload. This showcase that engineers could contribute making changes. Another example, engineers could build access to water for people who lives far away from water sources. this kind of infrastructure will help these people to get easier access and release them from the extreme stress of not having water. The works that engineers contribute in building access or maintaining certain solution will eventually contribute welfare for individual’s mental. Through implementing their obligations of providing engineering works, engineers have the chance to build an environment that are good for mental well-being, such as ensuring a well rehabilitation of post traumatic event in order to help victims cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. Engineers are in control of physical traits that could bring difference for populations mentality, in every step of its work. Therefore, they need to know the needs of mental welfare in providing solution through their work.

There’s a silver lining in between us humans, and our mental welfare, with the environment between us. these silver linings are often forgotten and not being well implemented. people rush into the obvious without managing to see large pictures with red strings that connects us humans with the surroundings that we live in. With knowing the silver lining between us and environment, we get to be logically satisfied in accepting mental health issues. Therefore the feeling of acceptance will lead us as individuals to walk better in our path to heal.

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