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Mental Health Awareness Week | Why Raising Awareness of Mental Illness Is So Important

May 10th 2017

I dedicate my life to spreading awareness, reducing the stigma and supporting those who struggle with their mental health but also people who live with or know someone close to them who struggles their mental health. Without talking openly and honestly about mental health, we will never be able to break down the stigma, and the one in four of us who currently struggle with their mental health will continue to do so in silence.

This week is my favourite week of the year. Mental health awareness week run by Mental Health Foundation. What’s the purpose of mental health awareness week, I hear you ask? This is the aim of this year’s mental health awareness week:

“Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem. This Mental Health Awareness Week, we are going to look at mental health from a new angle. Rather than ask why so many people are living with mental health problems, we will seek to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health.” (Mental Health Foundation)

Mental health awareness is incredibly important. Without it, too many struggles and suffer in silence. Mental illnesses are debilitating and disabling. We are all affected by mental health in one way or another whether that being through personal experience or someone we know. In 2017, there is still a massive stigma around mental health. Men being told to man up. Teenagers being told they are just hormonal and women being told they are over dramatic. This stigma has to stop.

Through mental health awareness week, I hope that it highlights how common mental illnesses are and just how many people struggle with their mental health. People from all backgrounds, ages and minority groups can be affected. By highlighting how common it is to struggle with mental health problems, poor access and availability to mental health services, for all, will become a thing of the past.

I asked some of the fellow members of the OCD youth panel and friends, why they think mental health awareness week is so important. This is what they said:

“Mental health awareness is important to me because when you are unwell, it is hard to put into words what you are going through, so having people around you who have an understanding can be life-saving.”

“I think that mental health awareness is so important because it quite literally saves lives. With awareness, teachers, friends, parents, GPs – as well as mental health professionals, save lives, just by recognising the signs that someone may be mentally ill and helping them get the help they need.”

“When people struggle with mental health difficulties they often feel alone and like no one understands them. When we talk about it, people feel more comfortable seeking help.”

‚ÄúThere are too many individuals with a mental illness who are scared to talk about it because society will label them as attention seeking, for example. Raising awareness helps change the view society has on mental health.”

It’s sad in a way that mental health awareness week is a thing. We don’t have a physical health awareness week. However, our generation can use social media to our advantage by campaigning and being the voices of change, hopefully, one day, mental illness will be treated and understood just as well as physical illnesses.

You do not have to struggle and suffer in silence. You are not alone in fact you are part of a very big club. We are the one in four.

Support Helplines/ services:

Samaritans: 116 123 (open 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. 365 days a year)

OCD Action: 0845 390 6232

Mind: 0300 123 3393 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

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