#TimeToTalk Green Ribbon Day – Talk About Mental Health

Green Ribbon

I have been following the @GreenRibbonIRL account on Twitter and reading about the conversations being started about mental health. Wearing the Green Ribbon, or blogging about the event,  indicates a willingness to start and continue this ongoing conversation.

I’m nearly finished my part of a novel that concerns itself greatly with mental health (WWI combat soldiers had high rates of shell shock) and stigma (the white feather itself) It’s strange how little people change from that day to this. I hope that the “conversation” will resonate come publication day! Yesterday was National Conscientious Objectors day in England and I feel it is fitting that the two events are so close.

I have always felt that the act of stigma carries a dubious legitimacy. Then and now, it’s about one thing. Power.

Also that the conversation cannot just be had between the vulnerable and relatively powerless. The powerful need to examine their ways, check their sanity privilege, and throw their weight behind this discussion. If for nothing other than economic reasons. Even the War Office needed to do something in 1917 when 40 per cent of their fighting men were disabled by extreme mental stress.

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2 Comments

    1. Hi Pratibha, welcome and thanks for commenting!

      I normally avoid the whole “check your privilege” rhetoric because it tends to go down a rabbithole of oppression, but I honestly couldn’t think of a more economical and realistic way of saying it. And a lot of the time the whole setup really is based on privilege rather than merit. Privilege is insidious because not only does it deprive a society of its best and brightest, it convinces us that less able people who get by on social privileges are somehow *naturally* doing better, rather than being nurtured more.

      To never have to worry about if people will find out you had a nervous breakdown is an unearned privilege. To be able to say airily to those less fortunate than yourself that antidepressants are “just a crutch” and that to admit to using them is embarrassing is an unearned privilege. To have inherited a temperament and brain chemistry that renders you unimaginative and phlegmatic and with enough savoir-faire to function in today’s society is an unearned privilege. Too many people with this privilege would fain convince the rest of us it’s a skill that they learned and we are somehow wanting in catching up with the world they have created.

      And the flaunting of this privilege creates a phlegmatic society which will keep on doing the same thing even when it’s wrong, whether it be environmental abuse or housing property bubbles or Credit Default Swaps. There is nothing more insane than a society predicated on the values of sane privilege.

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