Today is World Mental Health Day.
This years aim is to highlight mental health and more specifically schizophrenia.
In the wake of the death of Robin Williams, the world became more open to talking about mental health and in particular depression. Unfortunately, research out this week shows that although attitudes have indeed significantly improved in the last few years, the stigma is still widespread. Nine of ten people with mental health problems say this has had a negative impact on their lives.
The easy test of this is that most of us would simply not feel as comfortable telling friends and family about having a mental health problem, as they would saying they had a physical illness.
For illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, the stigma can be particularly stark. Research commissioned by Rethink Mental Illness found 65% of people would not tell their employer if they were diagnosed with schizophrenia. It’s hard to imagine the same proportion of people would keep a cancer diagnosis a secret.
Many people are now familiar with the often quoted statistic that 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in any given year. Whilst this is true, it doesn’t take into account that fact that we all have mental health that needs to be taken care of, in the same way we all have physical health. While most of us won’t develop a diagnosable mental health problem, our mental health will have ups and downs and we can all benefit from taking steps to protect our wellbeing. It also ignores the fact that the one in four people who are diagnosed have friends, family and colleagues who will be affected by this. In some way mental health issues affect us all.
This year, pledge to make a difference about mental health.
- choose to be more open about your own issues
- choose to be more supportive to friends or family who suffer with these issues
- choose to be an employer who is open about helping staff with mental health issues
- choose to read and understand more about the issues that people face
- choose to donate time or money to organisations who help people in these circumstances
- choose to get help if you need it
- choose to take care of your mental health to try to prevent problems occurring
- choose to notice how things affect you and those around you.
What do you choose?
If you need to get help or want to help someone that is suffering there are many amazing organisations around the world who are willing and able to support you.
In America visit Mental Health America
In Australia visit Mental Health Australia
I’ve added these links purely as examples of what is there. Please search in your local area and find a group or organisation who will give you the support you need and who in turn, you can support.
Wishing everyone out there a happy, healthy and Mentally Healthy weekend.