Sunday, 5 February 2017

Don't be a mental health parrot...

I see a lot of posts on Facebook and tweets along the lines of "please post this on your wall to raise awareness of mental health" or "I bet ten of my friends won't copy and paste this to fight the stigma of depression".

I don't see how this helps. It's mere lip service. If we want to break stigmas and raise awareness we need to start telling OUR stories, openly and unabashed. We can't be parrots that cry "mental health, mental health" over and over again. The world needs details, testimonies and personal tales to respond to, to breed empathy and understanding.

Please, don't just copy and paste. Tell us your story, or the story or a friend or family member. I'm ready to listen.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Time To Talk Day

Today is Time To Talk Day, encouraging people to talk about their mental health openly and without judgement.

Most people only think about their mental health when things go wrong. We don't realise that we all have a mental health, and that everyone can be susceptible to stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Some of us perhaps might be better than others with coping, but despite how much we might be open or closed about our own state of mind, EVERYONE needs support.

If you have a friend or family member or work colleague who you might be concerned about, take the time to check in with them. Don't merely ask "are you ok?" Don't take "fine" as an answer - sometimes that "fine" might seem dismissive, but it is hiding real hurt.

I was working with an older peoples group today, and we were talking about how they all first got involved with the group. One lady said that before she joined, she would sit in the house and cry to herself, and she could go all week without talking to anyone. But it just tooj one person to look out for her, to give some encouragement and change her life for the better.

So if you can, give that encouragement. And if you need encouraging, speak up. No one is asking you to be strong, or a martyr for mental health, or to even change. But everyone has a right to express how they feel.