So yesterday it was Mental Health Awareness Day, and being the digital junkies we all are, a lot of people on social media have been sharing various posts to generate awareness. The education of treatment is a significant part of awareness, to inform of the medication and therapies available for those suffering with mental illness.
Personally, I love this day. To me, this day symbolises solidarity. Such a stigma is attached to mental illness, and words associated with it are thrown around with a lack of care and consideration. They are not adjectives to describe a temporary emotion and to those suffering day in, day out, it’s frustrating.
“You nearly gave me a panic attack”
“My OCD is kicking in again”
“Stop being such a pyscho!”
“Yesterday I failed my test and I was so depressed about it”
“Stop shouting, you’re so bipolar”
Those words were felt bitter to write. The amount of times I hear phrases of a similar nature on a daily basis screams out of the complete contradiction of societies views on mental health. I will admit, I have used some phrases similar to them, without remotely thinking of what I was actually inferring. Phrases which address mental illnesses in a negative light are so readily used, but when it comes to discussing mental health in depth, it becomes somewhat taboo.
The sad reality with mental illnesses is that they are the most illness to put into words, how do you describe something nobody can see but you can feel its wrath. Invisible barriers are perhaps the hardest to overcome. Irrational and cruel, mental illnesses attack without mercy. According to the World Health Organisation, ‘if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally.’
World Mental Health Day takes place every year on 10th October, with the goal to generate awareness about mental illness, to educate people who may not necessarily have a great comprehension of what mental illness, and to give sufferers to confidence to seek help and feel supported. Among the thousands showing their support, Prince William and wife Kate Middleton spent the day on the London Eye, speaking to young people who have suffered/ still suffer with psychological problems. As the forefront of future monarchy, it is amazing to see Kate and William being involved and projecting an interest in the mental health of the nation and taking a hands on approach by meeting people to hear their stories.
Also launched on today is the “I Am Whole” campaign, fronted by Jordan Stephens, one half of Rizzle Kicks. The campaign for NHS and YMCA aims to “combat stigma and normalise mental health difficulties among young people”. This campaign features the likes of Ed Sheeran, James Corden, James Arthur, Dermott O’Leary to name a few who draw a circle on their palm to exhibit their support.
This campaign, as much as I love it, raised a question as soon as I finished watching it. Would I still love this as much if it didn’t have celebrities in? Would the message still be as strong? If I am brutally honest, it probably would not have the same level of influential power. It’s sad, because the message is so significant, but that just highlights the power of celebrity culture in society now. The most important thing is that the information will reach the widest range of people as possible, and if the selling point is celebrities then it is a very good use of their public appeal to forward such a significant message.
If you feel you would like educate yourself a little bit more on mental illness, here are some links: