Even in 2019, there are individuals out there who still believe mental health isn’t something to be discussed. That the subject is uncomfortable and threatening; or that those experiencing mental ill-health are weak or, even worse, dangerous. These people would prefer it if we didn’t talk about such problems in either private or public and kept them to ourselves.
But it’s attitudes like this which mean too many of us are made to feel embarrassed because of a mental health issue. One in four individuals will be affected this year alone and it’s incredibly sad to hear that over half of them will say the associated isolation and shame is worse than the condition itself. The social stigma attached to mental ill-health and discrimination experienced because of it can make the problem worse, and recovery even harder than it already is.
Attending a Mental Health First-Aider course recently not only helped me to become better equipped to properly support those around me; it also made me realise just how important it is to talk and raise awareness about these subjects. Having conversations about mental health can help break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something which will affect each of us at some point in our lives.
It’s one of the reasons why I’m taking part in this year’s Time to Talk Day, an annual event which encourages everyone to have open discussions. An associated social movement called Time To Change is led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and these amazing charities quite rightly believe nobody should have to face a mental health problem alone.
As I’ve written before, changing the way we all think about act about mental health is long overdue. Being open to the subject and talking about it frankly doesn’t have to be awkward or tense, and the associated stigma and exclusion will be a thing of the past once everybody realises this. Simply being there for a family member, friend or colleague can make a massive difference to them.
Today is a day for encouraging everyone to have a conversation about mental health. My channels are open to anyone who’d to chat – whether you want talk more about this post, are interested in hearing what the First-Aider course was like, need to hear a friendly voice, or would just like to talk to someone who isn’t going to judge. I can’t say I’ll know how to fix what you’re going through but I can be there with you through it.
It’s time for change. Together we’re stronger, and we can make a difference.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.