My Mind intern Kristine Brouder is studying Psychology at the University of Limerick. In her first blog post, Kristine talks about her experiences with MyMind and what mental health means to her.
‘’Why study Psychology? Are there even any jobs in that field? What is it that interests you about Psychology?’’ These are all questions I’ve encountered since deciding to pursue a career in Psychology. I applied to MyMind as part of my placement from the University of Limerick, where I am a third year Psychology student. During my two years studying Psychology I’ve learned many theories, research methods, read many psychology articles and so on.
However, what books, lecture slides and exams don’t inform you of, is how to react if you do encounter such issues in real life situations. This is why placement in my opinion is so essential.
After just one month of my internship here at MyMind, it is clear that Ireland is still a long way from where we should be in terms of eliminating the stigma behind mental health issues and encouraging people to reach out for help.
Although we have come a long way, we still have a very long way to go before mental health issues such as depression are normalised. Ignorance, prejudice and discrimination are all negative words that come to mind when the topic of depression is mentioned.
However, MyMind is making great efforts reduce this stigma.
For example, the video of MyMind ambassador Sarah speaking out about her experience with mental health issues can inspire others to talk about their own problems and lets them know they’re not alone.
One mental health issue that I am very interested in is depression as I think it affects everyone. It’s safe to say that every family in Ireland has been affected in some way by depression, either directly or indirectly.
We need to remember that depression is not reserved for a particular ‘type’ of person and that anyone can experience it. Nor should we be afraid to reach out for help if you are experiencing depression.
More and more famous faces that we are used to seeing on TV, or even on our daily scroll through Facebook, such as our very own Bressie or famous model Cara Delevingne, are opening up about their experience with mental health problems. They are telling their own story to make people aware that mental health issues are not a one size fits all and that it can be managed if you just take the first step and talk to someone about what you’re going through.
“1 in 4 people in Ireland suffer from depression”.
– Niall Breslin 2014
Your mental health needs just as much attention as any other part of your body. You wouldn’t neglect a broken bone or a deep cut that needed stitches, so therefore why should you neglect your mental health.
The thing with depression is that, ‘’it’s this vicious circle’’ (Cara Delevingne, 2015). Many people have little factual knowledge of depression and may fear or avoid people who are experiencing this mental health issue. This is where the cycle starts, because people often assume that this rejection is because there is something wrong with them and impose on themselves a form of ‘self-stigma’. This will then lead to them isolating themselves further by withdrawing from any social interactions in which they may experience this rejection. Therefore depression has not only affected the individual but could distress the relationships that can be a crucial support factor for the individual.
‘’The mentally ill frighten and embarrass us. And so we marginalize the people who most need our acceptance. What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour and more unashamed conversation.”
– Glenn Close
So to answer the question to why I chose to study Psychology – I feel a very important step is to make people aware that there are always people there to listen. At MyMind, I have learnt so much already on how to support someone experiencing mental health issues such as depression.
While my blog is only a very small contribution to tackling stigma around mental health issues, every little step is a step in the right direction.