The new advocacy platform is a safe space to share stories and get access to medical practitioners for help
Growing up, when I’d get hurt, like scrape my knee or bump my head, I was taught it was my fault; I shouldn’t have done this or that, and so I shouldn't cry. In my teen years, when I’d get my heart broken, what I’d sometimes hear is that I was naïve or that I let it happen to me. I lost a parent in my twenties and was told to get over it.
Conversations about feelings, especially those that are perceived as negative or simply the opposite of positive, are often unwelcome and stigmatized. We are taught that having them makes us vulnerable and weak; unlikely to lead or succeed in school or at work or in this life because we’re too emotional. But the full spectrum of feelings is part of what makes us who we are—human. And feelings are part of our overall health and wellbeing, particularly mental health. So just as we need to take care of our physical selves, we need to take care of our mental health, too.
It’s true that progress has been made on the subject and the need for treatment. But many of us still find it difficult to acknowledge that we’re not okay or that we need help, especially during these trying times. We see the trials and tribulations of others and sometimes use that to gauge how we should address and feel about our own. We trivialize our challenges because “others have it harder so we should be grateful” and learn to “suck it up” instead of acknowledging that we’re also going through something challenging or difficult. Sometimes, even the best of us just can’t “suck it up,” “get over it,” or optimize ourselves to be okay. What’s more, some of us experience debilitating emotions and whether or not that’s true for you or me, we all need help.
BYS Philippines has made a decision to support the initiative and continue to raise awareness on mental health care in the country. BYS has always supported the agenda through donations and lending its voice in the form of meaningful campaigns. This year, on the brand’s ninth anniversary in the Philippines, BYS is cementing its commitment to the advocacy by partnering with groups and individuals such as the Mindfulness, Love and Compassion Institute for Psychosocial Services Inc. led by Dr. Honey Carandang, licensed psychologist Gisa Paredes of Healing Minds, and the creative team of Where To Next to strengthen conversations on mental health responsibly and to help determine the relevant support they can offer. Through BYS’ digital platform, Break Your Stigma, the brand aims to provide Filipinos access to mental health professionals and other resources to help start the journey to understanding and healing. It’s also important to note that the website is an advocacy platform, a safe space, where visitors can share their stories and information on medical practitioners that might be able to help you or others.
Break Your Stigma is a reminder that you and I are not alone, that we need to exercise kindness, not just to others, but also to ourselves and perhaps, most importantly, that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
Art Matthew Fetalver