Illuminating Mental Health

Category: Opinion Pieces Publsihed Online Published: Monday, 29 October 2018 Written by Richard J Bell

Illuminating Mental Health


If one in every five lit a candle the people with a mental illness would easily be identifiable in the darkness. You would be able to see those affected during their life time. As long as you know five people you’ll see them holding a candle. But will they all seek treatment?

If we then blew out the candles of those who seek treatment for their mental illness, we’ll notice not everyone will be seeing a psychiatrist or mental health professional. It’s an actual fact that now; in 2012 the current health system would not be able to cope, if everyone affected would seek treatment.

If you ask the Mental Health Intervention Team of the New South Wales Police Force, if they deal with one in every five, they’d say ‘Of course not.’ If you asked the nursing staff in Mental Health Units if they’d have enough beds for one in every five they’d most likely laugh.

Even if those with candles, do seek treatment, or go undiagnosed, they can still capable of living full and productive lives. They can still work and start families, even with a mental illness. It means that they’d have to learn how to manage the symptoms. Some may even have the candle lit forever, becoming treatment resistant, but can still have achievements.

With those affected, shining a light on the topic through public speaking, on mental health education. Some of us educate others from a personal perspective, giving a different view from what is in the text book.

With Mental Health Education on the increase, more people in the population would realise that they are holding a candle, or that they have a candle for some time now. But what would happen, if the amount of people affected with a mental illness seeks treatment. Will there be masses of candles sleeping in emergency wards waiting until a bed is free?

If we got everyone with Schizophrenia to light candles, we would see one in every hundred of the population of the world holding a flame. It is perhaps the most misunderstood of all the mental illnesses, consisting of hallucination of your five senses plus delusions.

Although it is not usually understood, but paranoid Schizophrenia consists of hallucinations persecuting the person, to the point it creates paranoia with their brain. If they do become endanger of harming themselves, it is often out of fear of themselves due to a delusional belief and hallucinations.

One percent of the population with Schizophrenia commits suicide within the first five years of being diagnosed. With them holding a candle alone, you could see how many people are affected by the symptom of suicide.

Now if were to re-light all the candles of that one in five then lit everybody who knew someone with a mental illness. Everyone who knows five people in a lifetime would know someone with a mental illness. The candles across the globe would illuminate those who meet people affected with a mental illness.

Carers would be amongst these people who know someone with a mental illness. Glowing in the darkness, taking care of their loved ones, some people become so sick that they need a full-time carer. Which would leave friends, and family, to take care of those of those affected with mental illness.

But not everyone with a mental illness is noticeable. They do not walk around holding candles talking to themselves or mumbling incoherently when asked a question. Some may not have those symptoms in their illness, or it may present itself in different ways.

With all these candles burning so intense, ones got to wonder, what will happen if the population of people with a mental illness saw a health professional? Shedding some light on the subject of mental health treatment, I wonder if all these people holding candles could seek the help they need. Or at least have the help they needed if they chose to seek treatment.

With Mental Health Advocates out there trying to create a change in society through education this world would easily be able to see, those who were hidden in the darkness, through the light of the Mental Health Candle.

Richard Bell © 30th August 2012


Published on Vibewire Online in 2012

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