Disguising the truth

It’s Time We Stopped Disguising The Truth, And Said It Like It Is.


Senior politicians all know there’s numerous ways to say something. The use of clever word-play disguises what’s really meant. For instance, “we’re currently experiencing an interlude of negative growth, but forecasts suggest it’s unlikely to impact our long-term strategies” Don’t you mean “we’re losing money now, but hoping and guessing we’ll make it back in the next 30yrs”?

And what about poor journalism and its use of vagary’s or non-committal terms? Such as “It’s unknown for sure”, or “unconfirmed reports”. Then there’s “we’re speculating at this stage” and “others have suggested”. None of those terms resemble anything even remotely close to the truth.

Consider this. Are you substituting the term mental health for one more socially acceptable? How useful is it to have a term or phrase sound acceptable or disarming, instead of factual and/or alarming? Such is my issue with the term mental health, and people not using it. To favour other terms such as general state of health, wellness, or wellbeing is disguising the truth. They’re vague and misleading, unless married directly with the term mental health.

The Truth Is Alarming.

I speak to many folks about mental health, and know that stats are excellent convincers. Did you know that eight minutes before you read this article, somebody tried to take their own life? About six minutes after you’ve read this, another person will try to end their life too. Around every eight minutes someone tries to end their struggle. Sadly, eight people each day succeed, most of them men. And that’s just in Australia.

Mental health is, what mental health is. A person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being. It’s not a headache or a migraine. It’s not out of kilter wellness, or a misaligned shakra. It’s an experience that around one in five people will have. To say a person’s state of wellbeing has been negatively impacted by a series of stressful events is disguising the truth. Like saying you’ve got a headache when really, you’re being slammed by a migraine.

Why Are We Disguising The Truth?

Here’s an undisguised truth. The stats for poor mental health are trending upwards. This trend is not trendy. To arrest this trend, we need to stop using alternative sugar-coated trendy terms, and say it like it is. And another undisguised truth. If left unaddressed, repetitive or long-term bouts of sadness and unhappiness, often lead to depression and anxiety, to poor mental health.

Celebrities, sports stars, the rich and famous, amongst them we know many who have suffered with poor mental health. In the past few years, the world shed many tears for the popular people who chose to exit their lime-light entirely. Whilst those events increased awareness of mental health, the use of substitute terms continued. Mainstream media encouraged us to disguise the truth. But I call bullshit. These famous people did not just experience an intense bout of sadness, unhappiness, or un-wellness. They lost their battle with poor mental health. They took their lives through suicide.

We can make a difference to mental health in this country, by not reaching for more fashionably acceptable terms. After all, a clearly defined term is easily understood. For example, the term ‘fiscal challenges’ could mean a few things. But we all immediately understand what’s meant by the term ‘broke’.

Things Can Change.

Poor mental health is more common than you might realise. If you’re in a group of five or more people right now, one of them is likely to have, or be, experiencing poor mental health. And if you knew what to look for, wouldn’t that make it easier to help?

Imagine living in an age where people weren’t made to feel indifferent because they spoke about poor mental health. There’d be less of us disguising the truth with terms such as ‘just a bit down’, or ‘got a bit of stuff going on’.

I encourage everyone to use the term mental health when applicable. We can’t properly address what we don’t properly acknowledge. Saying it like it is enables all of us to better recognise and accept things exactly as they appear. No gloss, no sugar. No disguising the truth. Because when our awareness and understanding is increased, so too are our abilities to help.