Mental health: From a cruel world to a new world


Yesterday I went to a funeral for a man who cared passionately for those who suffered at the hands of state cruelty. He campaigned tirelessly against racism in Ireland and for rights for immigrants. He himself suffered from depression and took his own life. It was a very sad funeral.

Today I read in the Guardian that anxiety or depression affects nearly one in five UK adults. One in five. Those figures should make us stop and think. We are an imaginative species cabable of great kindness and creativity, and we are living in a society that causes a fifth of us to suffer from mild mental illness. If you are ill or unemployed or a carer you are more likely to suffer from mental illness.  We are living in a world that is created in the interests of healty wealthy people, it is a world that causes suffering, even in relatively wealthy countries like the UK.

Depression and anxiety will always be with us, we are complicated beings, we feel love and we feel pain. But the levels that are currently being reported now are avoidable and unacceptable. It is a cruel world, but it doesn't have to be. Anarchist Buenaventura Durruti said he had a 'new world in his heart'. The new world I have in my heart is one that is based on solidarity, compassion and mutual one, one that does not push a fifth of its people into the isolation and loneliness of depression and anxiety.

WORDS: Aileen O'Carroll