What's the Big Issue?
Here in South Africa we have a monthly small-run magazine issue called 'The Big Issue' which addresses issues of the day in a manner which touches base with the man on the street. It probably wouldn't have much meaning at all to the more affluent society, but to people like the middle-to-lower class society, it has real meaning and touches the heart and purse-stings. It always calls for involvement from the individual reader and there are multiple ways one can get involved in the community or broader society. Whether it be though financial involvement or giving of your time, possessions or skills, there is always someone needy.
Furthermore, the vendors of these magazines are usually found at robots (traffic lights) or walking around outside shopping malls selling the magazine – the proceeds of which they receive a proportion. The individuals are vetted by the publisher and all the vendors have an identity badge which permits them to sell the magazine for a set price.
Why the long introduction and what has that to do with you me you ask? Well, let me put this into perspective: in SA we have a statistical unemployment rate of 30% and if you take into consideration the number of people who have given up looking for employment who are no longer on the 'seeking employment' register, the figure is probably closer to 35%. Where does that lead? What have you got that the next person doesn't have? Think for a moment, about what you have and have been blessed with – whether or not you think of it as a blessing - and then spare a thought for the unemployed/homeless/in dire straits through retrenchment maybe - and then do a comparison.
Suddenly things become very clear – you either have sufficient – or you don't. Everyone aspires to more, and there's nothing wrong with that, but some will never have that opportunity. The Big Issue – if you consider yourself one who 'has' - is how about doing something for those who 'don't have'? I'm not talking about random handouts to street dwellers, but choose an individual who you see regularly whose life you might change by sharing positivity as well as a hand-up.
Mental health does not discriminate between race, culture or class, but anyone who has experienced mental health issues no matter how mild or severe will attest to the fact that they wished they never had been afflicted. You don't know the background or circumstances maybe, but I can assure you – it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The feeling of having blessed someone with something they never had before is a remedy that medicine can't provide. Suddenly your 'big issue' isn't so big! Yes, you will have down days but things could be way worse. If staying in touch with your local homeless person/retrenched friend from a position of one who 'has', then suddenly your position of a mentally affected person becomes almost nullified – trust me – I've tried it.
Mental health issues are no longer snubbed (hopefully) but you can do a lot for the next person albeit from a position of perceived disability.
I hope this motivates you to test the idiom – it is more blessed to give than to receive! The Big Issue – not mental health – help others who need your help!
A Moodscope member.