‘Be less judg­men­tal on men­tal health is­sues’

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS - BY FRANCES ROUGVIE

On Thurs­day af­ter­noon, I wrote a Face­book sta­tus about men­tal health.

I made ref­er­ence to my el­dest brother, Iain Lee, who is find­ing him­self sub­ject to in­tense pub­lic scru­tiny as he com­petes in ITV’s hit show I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here!

As a hes­i­tant user of so­cial me­dia, my in­ten­tions weren’t to start a di­a­logue about Iain’s men­tal health is­sues. In­stead, I hoped to of­fer a stark re­minder that we should all be kin­der. In an un­kind world, com­pas­sion of­ten takes a back seat.

It’s easy to sit be­hind a key­board and pass judg­ment – but you don’t re­alise the effect this can have, un­til it hits closer to home.

I don’t need to con­struct a vig­or­ous de­fence of Iain, just be­cause he has fallen vic­tim to some­thing that is char­ac­ter­is­tic of the hu­man con­di­tion.

Iain’s time in the jun­gle has il­lus­trated both a sig­nif­i­cant lack of, and abun­dance of, em­pa­thy in the world. For ev­ery nega­tive ar­ti­cle, or com­ment, there has been an out­pour­ing of sup­port­ive mes­sages, com­mend­ing his ef­forts.

Like any ill­ness, those that do not suffer from it can­not be­gin to un­der­stand the im­pact it can have upon your life.

It can be de­bil­i­tat­ing, con­sum­ing and dev­as­tat­ing, all at the same time.

How­ever, it is im­por­tant that we do not meet ig­no­rance with de­fi­ance; we sim­ply must learn to ed­u­cate peo­ple in how to be more un­der­stand­ing, and kin­der.

I’d like to re­mind ev­ery­one of the of­ten mis­at­tributed words of Ian Maclaren: “Be kind, for ev­ery­one you meet is fight­ing a hard bat­tle.”

“It’s easy to sit be­hind a key­board and pass judg­ment”

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