My aunt often tells us: “yo no estoy loca!” This translates into “I am not mad/crazy”, which is her response when we suggest she should seek professional help to deal with her chronic anxiety. Salvador Dali used to say the same thing and although we may be tempted to question the validity of that statement, the reality is that most people don’t want to hear they need therapy even if their daily lives have been crippled by stress and other mental health issues. Yet sometimes you might need a reminder that help is out there for when you come to your own decision to seek it out.
Now as I work to raise awareness on the impact of our type of work on our mental health, I often hear in my head “ellos no están locos!”, which is how I interpret employers’ tendency to push back on the word counseling and focus instead on coping or managing strategies. While there may be good approaches to promote our own mental wellbeing much like eating fruits and vegetables can improve our physical health, there is no guarantee individuals will have the same response or the ability to avoid something going wrong. It is not an employer’s role to decide whether anyone working for them needs counseling neither to determine what is the best avenue for coping or treatment. Employers should focus instead on providing access to as many reliable resources possible so individuals can find their best fit solution or simply be heard, which is one of the main roles of therapy. Because at the end of the day, the truth most likely is that “we are all locos!”
–Raquel Fontanés, Aid Worker & Co-Founder of The Mind Field