If we have to choose the biggest taboo among health care topics, mental health would probably top the list. While we usually perceive physical problems to be less embarrassing to share with others, issues regarding our emotional wellbeing are always attached to the stigma of weakness and are still, even among some general practice professionals considered to be of less importance. However, as technology advances, communication is mostly conducted through social apps, resulting in isolation, depression and loneliness that becomes chronic. In these cases, it is usually the time to leave it to the professionals – to find a good general practitioner that will direct you to some of the best doctors in Amsterdam dealing with mental health challenges.
How one case changed the narrative
One of the latest examples confirming that this is indeed a much wider issue than we thought was the case of Nadï van de Watering, a 25-year-old Dutch woman whose courage to share her everyday loneliness with her followers on social media, created a movement among those who share the same struggles. Even though talks about depression and loneliness are not often in the public discourse and are usually left to psychotherapists, Nadï’s honesty on Twitter resulted in over one million messages of young Dutch people recognizing themselves in her story. Modern patient care is actually based on this – sharing, talking and trying to find a sustainable solution, which is why even a hotline was founded, aimed at people aged between 12 and 30 seeking company, friends or just joining different interest clubs.
There is no shame in seeking doctor consultation
According to international research, around 3 -10% of young people feel lonely. In the Netherlands, this exact percentage is not known, one of the reasons being that this is not a common topic among people. This is why many modern family practices had to find ways to battle this unofficial seal of silence by providing options to patients like online medical consultations or walk in clinics, that guarantee privacy. But the only way we can actually see progress is by reducing the stigma around it, talking about it and tackling the issue systematically – addressing it on a higher level and providing a top-down approach. Additionally, according to university professors and numerous modern family practices, the best way of combating loneliness is through meaningful social involvement.
Treating it (not) just like any other health issue
The first step to solving it is acknowledging, recognizing and not confusing it with isolation. Loneliness is a subjective feeling of not having enough or not having high enough quality of interactions. In fact, a person can be lonely while being surrounded by people. But, even though it seems intangible and abstract, there are numerous ways one can work on improving this – from joining clubs based on their interest to talking to your primary care doctor that can recommend a therapist or something more appropriate in your case. And this is when mental health issues become just like any other – they take time to solve, but the highest probability of success is with those brave enough to face it.