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USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Fight On for Mental Health!

Japeth

October 21, 2019
by Japeth

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Among all the months in a year, my most favorite is October. Aside from it being my birthday month, it is also a time for advocates of mental health to further raise awareness about it. Advocating for mental health is not easy, and sometimes it even feels like an uphill climb. For some, it is an issue that can be disregarded easily and for others, it can be very debilitating. For me, our mental health is just as important as our physical health and we owe it to ourselves to take care of it.

Last 2017, I joined a mental health awareness event at a hospital where I was doing my internship. We did some Tai Chi techniques and our leader talked about the effects of Tai Chi on relaxation. Last year, I became active in attending mental health talks and meetings together with some doctors and government officials. This year, to celebrate mental health awareness month, my friends and I decided to watch a movie: Joker.

My take on the movie:
(I am not a film critic; I am just using my OT lens!)

Producing a movie about mental health is a tough thing to do, since not everyone may appreciate it. However, kudos to the whole production team for a well portrayed movie. Joker, the character in the story, went through so much since he was young. Growing up, life was very tough for him. He did not have a good social support and his work environment was also very unsupportive and unhealthy. Moreover, society in general was kind of judgmental towards him and was not very accommodating to his needs. On the other hand, one thing I personally did not like about the movie was the part that the character started to fight back by being extra aggressive.

Moving away from the movie and talking about my own thoughts:

Mental health issues may stem from different sources — some may develop due to childhood trauma, stress and overwork, some may be genetically predisposed, et cetera. Having mental health issues is not wrong and it needs professional help from the right individuals. And we, occupational therapists, have a huge role in mental health practice. If we all move forward together, we can advance our role and collectively, we can help bring change in society.

The rise of mental health issues is growing dramatically over the years, but our response as a community is not at par with its rise, yet. However, knowing that a lot of people are becoming more active in advocating for it, I feel that we are not too far from a world that is more inclusive despite of mental health issues.

Group photo after watching Joker

Fight On for Mental Health!

Please note that the views expressed in this blog post are the opinion of the student and in no way represent an official position of USC Chan.