Over the past seven days I have felt overjoyed with the amount of people coming out and speaking about their problems with mental health, however big or small. It has opened up many discussions and hopefully educated some people which is very important.
Of course there have been individuals who feel the need to take something like Mental Health Awareness Week and completely demean it. Take Piers Morgan for example and an example of one of his Twitter posts:
The use of the term ‘Man up’ is incredibly harmful and I feel pretty outraged he thinks he has the audacity to belittle the increasing problem of mental health. As you can see from the table (from here) below I found whilst researching into mental health statistics there has been a steady rise in anxiety, depression, phobias and OCD. The number in the table refers to the percentages of people suffering out of 100.
The below table from the same source also shows the percentage of sufferers reaching out for help and it makes me so sad that so many people are not getting the help they need. Maybe they don’t think they have a big enough problem or they are worried about the stigma surrounding going to a therapist/taking medication. I also thought this for a long time but now I am in treatment I realise I deserve to get help as much as anyone else.
In my eyes we all have mental health as we have physical health – we all have a brain don’t we? The brain can be affected from illness just like the rest of your body can. You wouldn’t treat somebody differently because they chronic back pain for example, so why should the large percentage of people suffering from mental illnesses feel ashamed to speak up and be heard about their struggles too?
It may not be a full-blown anxiety disorder. It could be stress from work or financial worries, reoccurring nightmares about something negative that’s happened. These things which may seem trivial to some can end up affecting your mental health. It’s my opinion that some can deal with these problems and move on getting them back to a more stable position mentally, whereas some don’t and they need a little more nurturing and care to get back to a healthy balance. Both of these parties deserve to be treated in the same way and it’s so sad there is a stigma.
Mental Health Awareness Week may come to a close today but that shouldn’t mean the conversation and education should stop. Mental health doesn’t just stop for sufferers, it’s an ongoing problem which can take a long time to recover from. I just hope all of the stories that have been shared, the media coverage and honesty this week has educated people and the conversation will not end just because the week has passed. Let’s keep talking to end the stigma!