Swaziland
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ESTABLISHING NEW GENERATIONAL PATTERNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS

AS the topic of mental health and issues surrounding mental illness has grown into key components of our social conversation, the prevalence of knowledge about this has also shown widespread reach.

More and more people in our communities are slightly more aware of the existence of a mental health disorder, for instance, something which would have not been the case say 10 years ago. This marks extensive progress in terms of strides being made towards sensitising the masses on the relevance of such subjects, and as we continue to see the need for a sustained effort toward this end, we celebrate what we have achieved.

Unfortunate

However, one may consider it unfortunate that some of the parents and grandparents that raised us were not privy to such knowledge and awareness and for them, mental issues were practically ‘forced’ to be non-existent. Consequently, you tend to wonder, in a social context that does not recognise your mental well-being as important, what kind of psychological impact does that have on your own mental health? Later in life, how would that affect your children and how you raise them? Using this as a mental backdrop, the forecast does not seem promising. I will do my best to explain.

Issues

The central and most signifcant premise, in issues concerning mental health, is that you (as the individual) need to be aware of yourself: How you cope with your mental issues and experiences, where you need help and generally, how to develop a competent mental health system that keeps you socially functioning at your best. Having that awareness lays the groundwork for your social and emotional life, and it becomes useful in social settings such as at work or at school. The significance of having such awareness of your own mental health status quo is further accentuated when we venture into parenthood. The children we have (or plan to have) do not only bear striking physical resemblences to us, but they also absorb our psychological likeness as well. This means, it makes a world of difference to the development of the child when he or she is born to a parent who has made the effort to psychologically prepare themselves, found out their own mental strengths and weakness while also being intent on ensuring that their offspring has a solidly healthy psycho-emotional base to begin their lives on.

The sad truth is that many Millennials (and some born prior) were left exposed to the psychological shortcomings of their parents - who themselves never knew better. This created a whole generation of psychologically neglected, emotionally rejected individuals who not only ooze such pessimism, but one that is eager to pass on the toxicity to the nearest receiver. Obviously, this does little to no good for the quality of our social relationships as beings in the community and the effects of it, we are still seeing at a national and international level.
Basically, this is ‘sounding the alarm’ or maybe ‘ringing the bell’ for us to do better in breaking the chain of psychological trauma and mental unhealth that we continue to plant and pass down generation to generation overtime. The idea of seeing a therapist or psychologist may come in handy if you need help ‘untangling the strings’ of your own childhood traumas, releasing old fears and feelings and developing new ways to be a better mentally functioning person. The good that this will do will be beneficial to your children as well, as they become their own people in their own right and a good psychological contribution from the parent goes a long way. Send comments to: runsford0505@gmail.com