brainEMO: The emotional barrier

brainEMO is a fresh BRAINetwork venture centered on emotional well-being and mental health. This is the first entry in the series, where features will take multiple forms and approaches. 

Modern society is paradoxical – sophisticated technology ensure we are more connected than before, yet many feel lonelier and more isolated than ever. Mood and mental disorders increasingly affect an alarming rate of teenagers and adults, leading to tragic outcomes like the Columbine, Virginia Tech and Aurora shootings in the United States. The underlying factor often points to emotion neglect. Growing up, particularly in an Asian society, scant attention is paid to learning how to express and resolve emotions. When emotion is of focus, it tends to be associated with immaturity, weakness and frivolity. Is it any wonder then that many are at a loss, confused and struggle with their emotions, preferring to avoid or suppress them? Compounded with negative societal connotations, this lack of awareness only serves to perpetuate the emotional stigma, resulting in higher levels of emotional and mental breakdowns.

Fortunately, the tide is turning. The World Health Organization has launched the Mental Health Action Plan in 2013 to 2020, and World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10th annually, highlighting a specific theme or disorder each year. Other independent initiatives like the annual United Nation’s International Day of Happiness (celebrated every March 20th) exemplify projects providing alternative, indirect approaches and resolutions. What they all have in common is spreading awareness, providing resources and focusing on prevention. This enables individuals to educate themselves, be aware of options and gain some control – factors that many mental health sufferers feel they lack.

Watch this space for our upcoming entries. In the meantime, if you have any specific topics that you would like us to focus on, feel free to send us your feedback and suggestions!

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