Mental Health Across Americas & Throughout the World with Investigative Journalist Gabrielle Alexandra Smith

In this fifth edition of this mental health series, we will discuss how mental health is viewed in other parts of the world. We will do a comparison with mental health in how it is in gender and age.
DMVDaily: We know that you have done interviews internationally. Was there a conversation about mental health?
Gabrielle: Yes, I had a lot of them. I was eager to know how other countries viewed it. I will talk about my recent conversation with an International Award Winning Actor from Paris. I asked him about mental health.
DMVDaily: What did he say?
Gabrielle: He said, mental health is not a problem in Paris. I believe that in a lot of conversations places where mental health could have been a problem it would have been talked about regardless of me bringing it up. Violence is an issue so a lot of people would bring it up.
DMVDaily: I understand. How did it feel to hear that it was not a major issue in France?
Gabrielle: It was not surprising. Different countries do things differently. People who have lived in a particular country for their whole lives will start to think that the issue in their country happens everywhere when this is not the case. I know this because this was how I used to think about a lot of things until I became a journalist in entertainment.
DMVDaily: I understand. I learned this a lot when I went to college. I got to learn about different cultures and how they did things.
Gabrielle: Same for me. I went to college in New York. It was a very different atmosphere than Washington, DC. From being a native of DC, it was kind of “get with the program.” I was an outsider coming onto New York’s territory or turf. I would think that mental health in the inner cities has the most problems.  The inner cities have a stigma of having a population of impoverished people. I did hear things about supporting the mental health community on and off-campus.
DMVDaily: Interesting. It was a little bit of a mental health support system for my college as well. 
Gabrielle: Nice. In some parts of Ireland, mental health is seen as not a problem. It depends on which part. In some parts, I have heard both sides. This is not a race thing. Actually, the actor I spoke to about mental health in Ireland talked about mental health in men. We as a society grow men up to be so strong. This makes them think they cannot show their sensitive sides to the world.
A lot of men’s mental health might come from their worldly stereotypes. If a man does not portray a rough persona, then he is considered another negative stereotype. Women have it also. It is more for men in this case. Men have a lot of carrying on their shoulders in this world. A lot of times we do not stop to make sure they are okay. We just assume they are because they are a male. Men are human just like women.
DMVDaily: This is an interesting distinction. This is so true. As a man, myself, I am held to a certain standard which is to be strong and keep my head up. But what if I want to drop my head down a little because of a family issue.
Gabrielle: Right. This society does not let you do it. Women are seen as the “emotional creatures.” I believe men are more emotional than women. I am not sure if men just become more emotional around me or not. I am talking about platonic situations. Some have expressed tears and also their words were filled with emotion.
DMVDaily: I can relate to this. Why can’t cry when going through something? 
Gabrielle: Right. Holding it inside damages their mental health. And they try to release it through negative outlets because any other release is seen as weak. As a woman, society grows us up with a mentality of portraying a soft persona and not get dirty and showing emotions. If we do not, then we are considered boyish. I believe each gender has both feminine and masculine aspects to them. “Crying” should not be associated with any gender. It is a word.
DMVDaily: Exactly. I am not sure why society does this. As little kids, some of us do not think this. We just go along with society and what we are taught. If we rebel, then it is seen as doing something wrong.
Gabrielle: Right. This is why some people grow up as adults and rebel. They start to dress differently and act differently. I do not think it comes out of nowhere. It was buried deep inside them. It comes out when they feel comfortable with expressing it.
DMVDaily: Correct. 
Gabrielle: It was amazing to hear this from an Ireland native than on television or reading it online.
DMVDaily: Because you heard it from an actual person. It is the same for us, we are hearing it from you and there is evidence online from the interview to support this. 
Gabrielle: Yes this is correct. Reading things online is great. Going to the actual location or person is even better if you can do it.
DMVDaily: Okay. How did hearing that mental health was less of an issue in various parts of the world change your view on mental health in America?
Gabrielle: I know we discussed mental health in Paris and Ireland. There was also discussion in other parts of the world. We would be talking for days. I just wanted to make this clear. To answer your question, it made me see America as a dystopia. I will go more into why I believe mental health is a big issue in the next episode. For this discussion, I saw America differently. I was hearing another country’s view of America and also their own. It made me want to do more. Sometimes when you are oblivious to something, you do not know how to give support toward it. I am using the platforms I have and the voice I have to give notice to it the best way I can.
DMVDaily: Hearing ways how another country deals with mental health can make an American look at their country and wonder why us.
Gabrielle: This was my reaction. Some people think America is all that. It is not. However, it is better than most. You have to take your good with your bad. America can be the worst. Trust me, I have heard it all. I have heard stories that would make America look bad. Then, I would hear stories that would make me grateful for staying in America.
To close out this episode, we can learn that mental health is not the same in other countries.
DMVDaily: Yes, and this is also the case with genders around the world. 
Gabrielle: Yes.

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