News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Philip Patston says mental health campaigns miss the mark

Belonging & meaning — without them we may be connected, but we're strangers

Diversity blogger Philip Patston says mental health campaigns miss the mark.

It's always something of a shock when well-known strangers like Charlotte Dawson kill themselves. I felt the same when Greg King suicided in November 2012.

They feel familiar and yet they're not. You feel sad but there's no relationship to mourn. Life goes on with nothing missing.

Perhaps there's even a subconscious, yet obviously false, belief that someone so well-known would have something to live for. Everything even.

But there they are, these minor celebrities, wanting to end it all. Life becomes so bad (hard? sad? meaningless? hopeless?) that there's nothing left to go on for.

It's quite an indictment on modern life that stress, bullying, unhappiness — whatever — can drive even our most successful to end their own lives. No wonder young people are chosing it more and more — "If there's not enough in life for Charlotte or Greg, what's in it for me?" one might ask.

The importance of connection comes up a lot in mental health campaigns these days, but I think they miss the mark. We're more connected than we've ever been as a species.

Belonging and meaning are what's missing, I think, not connection. You can plug a heater into a power point and it's connected. But if you don't turn the switch, there's no heat.

Belonging and meaning are the power that run through connection. They are the warmth and the reason for relationships. They are who we are and why.

I remember when I first started doing comedy. I thought I'd belong to the comedy community, but I didn't. Some friends stopped calling because they thought I'd be out with my new comedian friends, but I wasn't. There was a time when I began to not know where I belonged and, after 15 years of doing comedy, it all became meaningless.

Belonging and meaning. Two things that are free and make great gifts. So give them today. It takes six words: "You mean a lot to me." Or if you can't say it, acronym it: UMAL2M 

Belonging and meaning. Without them, we may be connected, but we're strangers — and life has no meaning.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


New Zealand Geographic: Photographer Of The Year Announced

Shaun Jeffers, has won the Landscape category at the New Zealand Geographic, Photographer of the Year awards for his stunning shot of the glowworms at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves! More>>


Howard Davis: Review - 'I, Daniel Blake' - Ken Loach's Bleak Masterpiece

'I, Daniel Blake' is a bleak masterpiece, a chilling and moving story of two people striking up an unlikely friendship under extremely adverse circumstances. It is both a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers, and a celebration of the decency and compassion of ordinary people who look out for one another when the state has abandoned them. More>>

Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news