Mental health is seldom talked about in books. It seems as if many authors are still hesitant to touch on this topic even though its importance is becoming more and more apparent these days. By definition, mental health refers to the state of well-being in which a person is able to cope with the normal stresses of life and contribute to the community by working productively and fruitfully. In essence, mental health is a crucial part of the overall health, which encompasses the emotional, psychological, and social aspects of a person’s life. Just like physical health, mental health can also be affected by illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more.
Perfect Flaws by Tim Segrest is one of the few great books out there that dared to tackle the topic of mental health today. It is a collection of poetry about how the author himself managed and dealt with his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental disorder that causes flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety after being triggered by a terrifying event. PTSD can occur to anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It is common among military veterans, such as in the case of Tim Segrest who formerly served the United States Army. In general, Perfect Flaws by Tim Segrest is an honest, compelling, and informative work of literature that helps expand the understanding of people on mental health. There are plenty of reasons why this kind of books is important to the society.
Contrary to popular assumption, mental illness is common. In the United States, for example, nearly one in five adult Americans or at least 19% of the population experiences some form of mental illness in a given year. This mental illness ranges from mild disorders (e.g. mood disorder, anxiety disorder, personality disorder) to serious ones (e.g. schizophrenia-spectrum disorder, severe bipolar disorder, and severe major depression). Oftentimes, however, many people do not even have an idea that these illnesses exist. For this reason, writing about mental health in books is necessary as an effective way of raising awareness on mental health problems. Since literature is an extensive platform, books have the power to extend the discourse on mental health to a significantly large audience.
Removing the Stigma
There has been a persistent stigma around mental health. It is often seen in a negative light. In popular culture, for example, mentally-ill people are usually portrayed as crazy, violent, and dangerous. As a result of this misrepresentation, people in real life who suffer from a mental illness tend to experience some form of discrimination. These stigma and discrimination can make mental health problems even worse. So, in order to combat them, there is a great need for mental health to be accurately tackled and depicted in books. By talking about mental illness in a common platform such as literature, more and more people will hopefully become educated enough to eradicate the false notions surrounding mental health.
This is, perhaps, the most important reason why mental health needs to be tackled more in literature. Oftentimes, the stigma and discrimination that mentally-ill people experience can prevent them from getting the treatment that they need. As a result, their mental illness tends to become worse over time, sometimes even leading to suicide. To eradicate or at least reduce this possibility, there is a great need for books to talk about mental health in the same way that one talks about physical health. These books should give a proper depiction of mental health and promote treatment of mental illnesses. If there are enough books that do not paint mental health in a bad light, then there is a possibility for more and more people to be encouraged to seek treatment for their mental illness without feeling ashamed or afraid of judgement.
Ultimately, it is important to write about mental health in books because literature, in general, is a great platform for raising awareness and educating the public. Mental health has been a taboo for a long time. Today, many people are still reluctant to reveal that they have a mental illness out of fear of being stigmatized. By talking about mental health in books and elsewhere, people will slowly come to realize that mental health problems are common, and mental health is not something that should be seen in a negative light. Perfect Flaws by Tim Segrest, for example, shows that mental illnesses such as PTSD can be treated and dealt with. So, there is totally no point in stigmatizing anyone with a mental health problem. In essence, the more people read about mental health in books, the better they will understand what it is and how it should be seen.