Talking about the day my husband was less than 20 meters away from an explosion that killed two soldiers and the series of events that followed that day are still difficult for me. I thought I was passed it, I thought I had let go of the anger, the disappointment, and the hurt. But I realize now that it still lingers.
The event itself is not what still upsets me; it was an act of war and they were in a war zone. But its the events that followed and the way we were treated by those that had promised to help us. The very people that were supposed to support us should something exactly like this happens.
But instead, hurtful, ignorant and disrespectful things that were said to us and about us and are still almost unbelievable to me, even though I lived them. I get rilled up just thinking about all the moments where we were treated like we were making things up or we were somehow at fault for not being more resilient and ‘getting over it’.
So what can be learned from this?
5 things everyone can do to end the stigma around mental health issues:
1- LISTEN to what people want to share with you
2- BELIEVE them (no matter how hard it may be for you to believe, trust me, unbelievable things do happen)
3- THANK them for sharing and trusting you
4- ASK how can you support them if you feel capable
5- FOLLOW UP, let them know they are not forgotten; their story matters
We can’t prevent traumatic events from occurring, but we can prevent the trauma caused by stigma, ignorance and fear that often follows the incident.