“I lost everything…however this trial ends. I lose in the end. I lost when these accusations were made public, they will stay with me forever. My life is forever ruined.”
These were the words from Johnny Depp in court while he was under oath, asking if he physically or sexually abused his partner at the time, Amber Heard. As I found myself watching some of the clips of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s trial, it has opened the conversation that, yes, men’s mental health is real and, not only is it real, but it matters. The society we live in today has influenced many to believe that men don’t “have problems” and that men do not have mental health issues. Men are “supposed to be” strong for the family and hide all presence of weakness. All of these assumptions are FALSE. Perhaps, because of these assumptions, men go unnoticed and underlooked in the topic of mental health.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health America has posted that this year’s theme is “Back to Basics,” meaning that the goal of this theme is to provide foundational knowledge about mental health and mental health conditions and information about what people can do if their mental health is a cause for concern. Oftentimes, we need to simplify our language and go back to the roots; back to the basics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, since the outbreak of COVID-19, a link between large illness outbreaks and mental health disorders has been established. Between August 2020 and February 2021, the proportion of adults with unfulfilled psychiatric care requirements grew from 9.2% to 11.7%. The majority of these numbers occurred among those aged 18 to 29, and those with only a high school diploma. This increase shows that mental health does matter. It matters not just for women, but also for men.
The advocates of the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc. will be providing social media outreach regarding mental health. This include providing statistical data, verified information and tips from credible sources, personal experience, and both the local and national resources available to assist individuals who have mental illnesses or struggle with mental health. Our office has a specific program, Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness, that caters to alleged abuse, rights violations, and discriminations against those who live with mental illnesses. Our office is mandated to provide protection and advocacy services and therefore cannot provide all the required services that one with a mental illness may require, but fortunately we are interconnected with other agencies and service providers that can possibly offer that type of assistance. Our community is small, yet we still undergo the effects of unreported mental illnesses due to the surrounding cultural and social stigma that exists about disabilities and about mental health in both men and women.
The case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard demonstrates why men are so often forgotten about, not believed, and not heard for the psychological and physical abuse they endure. Granted, this is still an ongoing case with no definite result as of the writing of this article but maybe this is the first step we all need to take: believing. Believing that mental health is a reality in our community; believing that mental health exists in both men and women of all ages; and believing that we can all do our part in diminishing the stigma about mental health and individuals with disabilities.
NMPASI is the CNMI designated organization that protects the civil, legal, and human rights of people with disabilities. For more information on our programs and services, please contact NMPASI at our office numbers (670) 235-7273/4, text message (670) 287-0652, or visit our website at www.nmpasi.org.
Cleo Nening (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Cleo Nening is a programs coordinator at the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.