Sigmund Freud said:
Bevor Sie bei sich selbst eine schwere Depression oder Antriebsschwäche diagnostizieren, stellen Sie sicher, dass Sie nicht komplett von Arschlöchern umgeben sind.
In a somewhat more politically correct English:
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by idiots.
This recent article in The Guardian looks at the topic of my previous post from a slightly different angle but is conveying pretty much the same message.
To help people who are not completely adapted to their environment there are two possible paths to a better life: to change the individual or to change the individual’s environment. This means that the responsibility of people’s mental health shouldn’t lie solely with health care organizations (and drug companies) but in equal measure with friends, family, policy makers, city planners, employers, colleagues, …
We may not be literally surrounded by idiots but by a society that is evolving thousands of times faster than our genes. Our brains are adaptable but they are running legacy software on 50 000 year old hardware.
Changing the society is not easy but we can start small scale with removing mental sink holes in our workplaces and in health care organizations (so that patients will not feel worse after a visit to the doctor than before). Psychiatric care must for sure work with both the individual and the individual’s context.