The concept of “the others” takes on newer shapes over time. Historically, “the others” have been foreigners, adherents of another religion, people of another race, language, people who perceive the world differently or cannot become full members of society for one reason or another, and countless other categories that divided people into “us” and “foreigners.” This concept also includes people with mental health problems – mental health treatment has come a long, dramatic way from completely denying, isolating and forcibly “treating” these people to the acceptance, understanding, support and therapy we seek today.

Unfortunately, psychological help is not yet available to everyone, mostly for financial but also social reasons. In some countries, a visit to a psychologist is still perceived as a weakness, “I’m not crazy about going to a psychotherapist,” “you’re not normal, you need to be treated.” The word “psycho” is still used as an insult, employers avoid working with employees with diagnoses, which makes people who need help avoid doctors so as not to lose their social position. The stigmatization of mental disorders (even minor ones) is ubiquitous and its discussion is not yet on society’s priorities and agenda.

How do today’s “others” feel? What is it like to watch life go by around you, but you can’t find a place in it? Loneliness, fear, drowning in one’s own thoughts, which, as the greatest enemy, eats away any motivation to move forward and makes everyday tasks impossible. Add to this the lack of understanding on the surrounding environment, difficulties in training, finding and working and fulfilling work commitments, conflicts with loved ones who do not see the problem and shift the blame on laziness, rudeness, illiteracy or other factors. The horror of the problems gradually turns into apathy and acceptance of the condition – “I can’t stand this place”, “I can’t, it doesn’t make sense”, “why should I do it”. Instead of fighting and treating the problem, people often isolate themselves and remain misunderstood even by those closest to them.

Mental health care needs to be as serious as physical health care. At the first signs of such conditions, it is good to reject the stereotypes imposed by society and turn to specialists. If, on the other hand, we are on the other side and our loved one has a mental problem (or there are other accompanying signs that are good to know and identify), instead of criticizing or blaming him, we should provide support and a conversation. Communication, support and understanding are the first things people with depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses need, and it is what we can all offer them. The environment must adopt a new social practice of non-discrimination against people with mental disorders. Only when society accepts the reality of mental problems will people who experience them feel part of society and not be afraid of diagnosis and therapy, which will subsequently help them return to the normal rhythm of life.