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Mental Health

There is a series of advertisements on TV at the moment that I really
like. They deal with depression, but they do so in a very good way. They
start by showing a normal looking person as they go about their life, all
the while a narrator (which turns out to be the individual concerned)
describes all the good things that they do at work, in the community,
with their family, and then it ends with the words "...and I suffer from
depression. Don't judge me until you know me".

NZ has been very proactive in fighting the social stigma surrounding
depression. It started many years ago when the Mental Health
Institutions were all shutdown. Mental Health patients then either went
to community based care, or short term hospital based care (like
Concord Hospital's 5-West). The public weren't overly happy about this,
but none of their fears were realised. If anything, it showed that a lot of
people were locked away in mental institutions when they shouldn't
have been.

The stigma still remains, although greatly reduced as the "fear factor"
has been removed. The funny thing is, as I was brought up in this
culture, I keep wondering what it means when I call someone crazy.
Well, I suppose it just proves the saying "It takes one to know one".

P.S. I saw the first 30 mins of "Whale Rider" last night (the rest is
recorded on video). I was surprised about how much Maori language
(Te Reo) was used. I also liked the usage of a real Marae (community
building) as it brought back lots of childhood memories. I recommend it
to anyone (if you don't understand some of the words, just guess them
based on context).

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