A community is my emotional valve


A community is my emotional valve

Let’s face the fact that everyone has encountered some kind of mental health issues during their lives. They might have been hard times at work, a friend in trouble or other tough times in our lives. But now try to say it out loud to the person sitting next to you right now. Or to your best friend, spouse, sister, brother, father or mother. Or have you tried to talk about these issues to a health care professional? It is important to find a way to survive from mental health problems, but in several cases we are afraid of the stigma. Will others think that I am crazy if I talk about my mental problems?

I’m the CEO of a mental well-being community Heimo. I have to be honest: I’m building a service for myself. I am a person who has difficulties talking to other people face-to-face. During one year I have co-founded two companies, wrote a book and lost my sister. It has been one big emotional roller-coaster. And still, I have been afraid to talk about my feelings. And it is dangerous. When time went by, I would be like a closed pressure cooker waiting to explode. But my community is my valve. I’m the lucky one who is able to talk to a friend about hard times and find comfort from my family. I have found courage to talk about my issues and have ventilated my mind.

But not everyone is able to find aid when they need it. Mental health problem is huge. One third of the world’s population have had some kind of mental problems and most of us never get help. Several people are not lucky enough to find other people to talk with. What I have found out is that communities are crucial part of the survival kit for mental health issues. Community can be your friends or family, but it can also be an online community, where aid can be delivered to a wider audience.

Let’s face one more fact: governments won’t save people’s mental health issues on a larger scale. I believe that community-based services can bring aid to a wider audience and help people to help each other. We have to be part of the solution and make the change happen together.

Jarno Alastalo is the CEO of Heimo, a mental well-being community. Heimo enables people to find support from other people and share their own experiences related to mental health and well-being.

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