Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year, yet too often people are afraid to talk about their experiences because they fear it will affect their jobs or relationships. I have been writing my blog for almost 3 years, and have made a point of always being honest about my mental health. It is not easy to admit that you have mental health related issues, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, which is why I am writing this post.
I suffer with anxiety and depression related symptoms. I only realised this in the last few years, but when I think back to when I was a teenager, and possibly even younger, I think I have always had anxiety. It used to be put down as being ‘shy, sensitive, quiet’, which could be true, but knowing what I do now I would say this is not a new occurrence for me.
I have found that by speaking out about my mental health people have shared their story with me. I have also received lots of support and encouragement. Unfortunately there is still far too much stigma surrounding mental health, so today is a fantastic opportunity to address this issue and turn it on its head. Time to Change have a list of ways they want to achieve this stigmatisation. Here are their aims for this year:
- Improve adult public attitudes towards people with mental health problems by 2%
- Increase the number of people with lived experience of mental health problems who are empowered to take action to challenge stigma and discrimination
- Ensure that people with mental health problems report reduced levels of discrimination in their work place, in mental health services, and in personal relationships
- Secure changes to policy, practice and organisational culture in order to reduce stigma and discrimination in the longer term
Initiatives such as this one are a fantastic idea, and much needed. When the number of people who are effected by it is as high as 1 in 4, we need to get the message out that having a voice on this subject is encouraged. That same statistic applies to women who suffer miscarriages. As someone who has had a miscarriage I am aware of the stigma that still surrounds that, yet it seems even worse when it comes to mental health. These 2 situations are so heartbreakingly common so it is definitely time for us to raise the awareness alarm, talk more about our experiences, whether personal or in relation to someone close to us, and show that they are not taboo topics.
If you would like to join the campaign to end the stigma surrounding mental health, why not join the pledge today!
For more information on Time to Change and #timetotalk, have a look at their Twitter page
If you would like to talk about anything in this piece please send me a message. I would love to hear from you. I always have time to talk.