Yesterday, I did a project management workshop for a local secondary school (of a rather high caliber). The purpose of this was to get the students into groups to promote a lifestyle to their fellow schoolmates.
They were given choices of topics ranging from increasing exercise time to smoking prevention. As there were more groups than topics, many groups worked on the same topic but managed to produce diverse ideas without consulting each other - evidence of the power of many minds.
What stood out to me was that none of the groups chose to promote mental wellness.
I originally attributed this to a possible lack of knowledge on the subject or that the topic was too broad. However, as I started to think about it, I wondered if it was simply regarded as unimportant compared to a healthy physical lifestyle, good eating habits and abstinence from tobacco and alcohol.
Perhaps this occurred due to a non-emphasis on mental health, that stress, anxiety and depression are seen as normal in our society.
There is no doubt that we are always told to 'Chin up!' and get on with what we are supposed to do, to fake confidence in the face of uncertainty and even to hide mental disorders or risk being stigmatised by others as 'crazy' or 'insane'.
Is this really the way we want the next generation to grow up believing? That nobody wants to hear about their problems and that they need to handle their issues on their own? Is this why we are becoming so cold and uncaring?
Thoughts to ponder upon...