Almost a year ago, when veteran actor Robin Williams bid adieu to the world by committing suicide, everyone was shell-shocked. He was unhappy and he thought suicide was a good enough way to end his misery.

That awful incident once again reiterated that one should not choose to ignore the existence of mental health. Mental health is as important as your physical health and everyone needs to consciously understand and protect it.

With suicides, the severity of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disease and schizophrenia comes under scrutiny and further debate.

Celebrities (read Deepika Padukone and Catherine Zeta Jones) did not let their circumstances dictate their fate or their key to happiness. When they chose to address their mental health issues openly and with all the honesty, they proved that suicide was not a straightforward solution.

Today being World Mental Health Day, here are 4 important things that have been said and you should keep in mind about mental health.

It Is Not A Taboo, So Talk About It

To begin with, be open to discussion and debates on mental health issues. Irrespective whether you are experiencing it or know someone who is going through it, remember that it is important to have a wider view on something as sensitive as this. Mental health issues are just like diabetes, blood sugar or maybe cancer.

Luke Richardson, Canadian professional ice hockey coach said:

We need to change the culture of this topic and make it OK to speak about mental health and suicide.

People With Mental Health Are Harmless

Some of us take the term mental health issue literally. We first need to understand it is absolutely okay for people to feel down, or in misery or feel anxious for no reason in particular. Sometimes, crowd invokes fear in people, anything sudden can overwhelm them or vision of an impossible future can frighten them. But, they are normal people with normal feelings; normal thinking and they are who they are. We need to be supportive and patient with them.

Roy Dean Blunt, Junior United States Senator from Missouri said:

People with mental health problems are almost never dangerous. In fact, they are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators. At the same time, mental illness has been the common denominator in one act of mass violence after another.

Give Them The Personal Space They Need

While it’s good to help and support people but many of us have this tendency of going overboard (mostly unknowingly) while trying to help someone. If you know someone who is dealing with some kind of mental illness, understand that just like anyone else, they DO need their space. Wait till they resort to you. And once they do, offer all the help and support but give them time to respond and express what is going on in their head.

Here is a quote from Stephen Fry who tried committing suicide twice.

If you know someone who’s depressed please resolve to never ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation, depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do.

Shun The Prejudices, Spread Awareness

We don’t know what really depression or bipolar disease is and so, there is absolutely no reason to have any prejudices around it. It would be ignorant and insensitive for us to term mental health as a stigma and move away from it as well as people going through it. We need to accept that it exists and we need to be aware of the impact and know how to deal with it.

Glenn Close, one of the most versatile American film, television and stage actress explains:

The mentally ill frighten and embarrass us. And so we marginalize the people who most need our acceptance. What mental health needs is more sunlight, more condour and more unashamed conversation.

Be compassionate, be open, and stop joking about mental health.

Cover image courtesy: Robin Williams Facebook Page